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18 minutes to the law library


Heat it comes. In Houston. Summer Houston. This one time I went to Phoenix and heat there was heat that stabbed you. It was like you were being stabbed. Not in Houston where heat happens like a great submersion instead, in paraffin wax maybe, or in napalm. I’m not sure. It is hard for me, just thinking up similes in this heat, but that’s probably the gist of it. Yes. Submersion.

I was going down to the law library yesterday, and walking, and the heat was making everyone crazy. I had this feeling that everyone was melting or crazy.

A man up on the rail platform on Main stomped. He stomped. He dared us to look at him. You could see this man wanted to fight, or I could see, anyway. He accused us all of doing things with our mothers. Repeatedly. Angrily. “C’mon, you motherfuckers!” he said, “You wanna fight? You wanna fight?” and his fists were up and he was lurching at strangers.

None of us – old pros, I guess – made eye contact.

I wanted to say “This never happens in January,” but I did not say “This never happens in January” because I did not wish to fight the man on the rail platform on my way to the law library.

Some Metro cops came by and the man ran away but it’s only May and we still have six more months of submersion.

Comments

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    1. It's a big shock to all of us in Houston. There's no way we could have predicted this.

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  2. The heat makes everyone crazy. In the winter, that guy is probably a respected civil servant or something.

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    1. It's especially bad on the first couple of really hot days of the year.

      I have an ex whose father was schizophrenic, and he always had a tough time right when it got hot. I'm not sure what the story is there, but it is pretty consistent.

      This guy on the rail platform could have been a judge for all I know.

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  3. I know what you mean about the heat stabbing you. I like the submersion version better, but always seem to end up living in dry climates.

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    1. Granted when I was in Phoenix, it was also about 109 degrees F, a temperature it never reaches in Houston.

      I like the cold. If it weren't for my being trapped in Texas by this Texas law license, I'd consider moving to Canada or something.

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    2. I once stepped out of an airport in El Paso to 114 deg F and a stiff breeze. For a minute I couldn't breath at all.

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    3. What? You don't want to study a whole new set of state laws?

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    4. I could waive into a lot of states without taking their bar, but yeah... I barely understand one state's laws after 20 years.

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    5. Not to mention you would have to start all over with the clientele base.

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  4. Back when I was a relatively wee sprout, I was with a traveling carnival. We were based in Spring, Texas. Having always lived in the North, the heat stunned me. Submersion is the perfect descriptive. It amazed me that I could be simply sitting in the shade, NOT moving, minding my own business and be swimming in my own sweat.

    I couldn't think or move. AND, of course, this is why I live in Boston :-)

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    1. The first sentence of that comment is amazing.

      The sweating thing is pretty bad. I have taken to wearing white shirts pretty much all of the time because they hide the fact that I'm usually a soaking mess.

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    2. Thank you and, yeah, I can imagine!

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  5. Heat and humidity....a dangerous combination for those very nearly on the edge already. I speak from experience. Hang in Harry....it will be cold weather before you know it.

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    1. We actually had a winter this past year, which is great because we had basically none at all the year before.

      With my job, it's definitely easier to deal with people whose hostility level hasn't been raised up by extreme heat.

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  6. My sister almost passed out from the heat at Hoover Dam a long time ago. I think it was 115.
    I've worked in the heat a few times, like high 90s low 100s, and been pretty much OK, but there's a certain kind of heat in the central valley of California that even the Nevada desert didn't have.
    I can't breathe right in it, somehow.
    But way back in 1976 I raced motocross at a place called Anderson in the valley, it was 109 at sunset at the start of my first race, and in that forty minutes I lost nine pounds.
    And just now I remembered this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2KUhe6dEBI

    It wouldn't happen to be 92 degrees, would it?

    -Doug in Oakland

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    1. I am going to think of that clip next time my car reads 92 degrees.

      I think I handle the heat worse now than I did when I was young. It might be because I sweat so bad. Or maybe it's because old people's internal thermostats go haywire.

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  7. Note to self: Do not visit Houston during the submersion months. Thanks, Harry.

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    1. That covers May through November.

      If you're going to be driving, you might want to think hard about December through April as well.

      I'm sort of like a reverse tourism bureau for Houston.

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  8. I spent my early life in places with brutal summers, mostly suburban Maryland. Vermont’s are far milder, one of so many things I love about living here. I will happily take the harsh winters in exchange.

    I have enjoyed poking around your blog this morning. Good stuff.

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    1. Thanks, Armchair Squid!

      I like the winters more and more as I get older. But I lived in Nebraska for a few years and could never handle the winters there back when I had to...

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  9. Harry, its that unrelenting sticky hell of humidity and no air-conditioning that drives people to plummet into the crazy depths...I lived in subsidized housing for a while in a 3rd floor apartment with no air conditioning, 2 small kids in the 80s until I could afford to buy a unit ... 6 buildings in close proximity...none equipped with air...oppressed people get mean...scary...with a rise in temps/humidity.

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    1. Haha.... yes, it is notable! First hot day of the year, everybody gets hostile. At my job, we notice that we always get lots of cases where tenants are fighting with landlords just after it starts getting warm outside.

      I should expect it by now.

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  10. Don't be such a wuss. Here in Florida, it's so humid we're swatting fish instead of mosquitoes.

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    1. That's funny. I had a joke I said in a very old blog that when you wave at someone in the summer in Houston, 30 seconds later, the wave splashes against the face of the person you were waving to.

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  11. Heat and humidity are a horrible mixture!! Dry heat is so different! You're not as wet! LOL! I would rather take a nice Autumn day, any time!

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    1. Houston always has a very pleasant week, weather-wise, in early November, and then another one in early March.

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  12. Just imagine what the humidity is going to be like in a couple of decades.

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    1. If I were 20 years younger, I'd look into buying land in central Canada.

      As it stands, eh... I'm middle-aged and don't have any kids. I'm willing to stand back and watch how this shakes out.

      Of course, Houston floods so much already that it might be impossible to get insurance here pretty soon...

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  13. I always suspected Summer walked around with the hot knife. It's very likely that Spring stole it for a time, and it has chosen to terrorize people. And to give people hallucination about other people doing stuff to their mothers--she is the cruellest, you know? Our mad Spring? I'm glad you didn't fight. It's too hot. Too damn hot for bleeding all over the street.

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    1. I'm glad I didn't fight, too.

      I'm actually pretty good at de-escalating situations that could get ugly.

      And I can hide from Summer with no problem. She's out there somewhere.

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  14. A man sitting on the edge doesn't need much to go over it. (maybe a Confucius quote)

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    1. Either Confucius or Dylan.

      About 2-5% of the people at my job I see are having mental issues so big that they can't get put on a face that disguises it in public. But they don't let me talk about the ones at my job...

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  15. It only gets this hot in my polytunnel here, and the tomatoes don't make eye contact with me. So far, safe.

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    1. The tomatoes sound like a safe alternative to real people.

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  16. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6tKJvWWDP4

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