Heat Wave? Here In Southeastern Virginia We Call It July.

by Kerry Dougherty

Stop the presses. It’s July 26th. And it’s hot. My trusty iPhone weather app says it will hit 91 today, 94 Thursday and 96 on Friday.

Who could have predicted such temperatures? Actually, all of us. It’s called JULY.

And yes, much of the country is in a record heat wave with far hotter weather. It’s not the first heat wave and it won’t be the last. But there is a new breed of “safetyist” afoot. Not the usual alarmists who feel it’s their duty to remind us every summer to wear light clothing, drink water — not tequila — and not to exercise at high noon, as if we are idiots.

This new bunch is raising the alarm on the dangers of temperatures — get this — above 90.


Here in southeastern Virginia we call that “balmy.”

The news is littered with heat-wave stories. Lazy journalists never tire of finding new ways to say IT’S HOT. They tell us about everything from the effect of high temps on blueberries to recommendations that we follow the Chinese and begin wearing “facekinis” — summertime ski masks — to protect our skin.

During a heat wave, it seems everything is rife with danger. Cold plunges, for instance. “Overnight” heat. Even staying at home and doing nothing.

Sure, we in the South perish in the heat like everyone else. We’re not special. We guzzle sweet tea, we sweat, we complain endlessly about the humidity that makes the air heavy and wet and creates a terrarium-like environment that doesn’t allow perspiration to evaporate to cool us off. We have fans on every surface and hanging from every ceiling.

(Frankly, my biggest complaint is about the condition of my hair. I experience something I call “straight frizz” in the humidity that means my hair actually looks better after I wear a ball cap to tame it.)

How do we survive the soup of summer? By remembering how much we hate winter and reminding ourselves that many football players are already practicing. In pads. And that the SEC plays games in September when the temperature on the field is usually in triple digits.

You don’t hear the players complaining.

On top of that, the September stadiums are full of fans — drunken ones — who sit in the blazing sun and don’t complain. Much. In fact, many of us live for those steamy early games in Oxford, Mississippi and Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, when the season stretches out in front of us and our team is undefeated, picking off those warm-up cupcake colleges.

With that in mind, get a load of what the wimps in the University of Colorado admissions department did last weekend: they suspended college walking tours — in Boulder — because the temperature was expected to soar to, um, 90.

And that’s minus the 99 percent humidity that usually accompanies similar temps here in the swamp. Shoot, when I was in Colorado in August of 2008, it hit 90-something and I wasn’t even sweating. It felt like 70. And my hair was glossy and straight.

Nearly 90 percent of American homes have air conditioning. Surviving a heat wave for most of us means dashing from our air conditioned houses to our air conditioned cars to our air conditioned workplaces.

Let’s stop griping and get ready for football. Just 38 more days.

Republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed and Unedited.