Friday, July 23, 2010

Goin' South

Today’s high is 86 degrees. Not so bad for somewhere in the US in high summer. Its going to be humid, too. The kind of humidity where you one might want to whip up a raft and float upon the humidity and not be down in it swimming.

While central Pennsylvanians will be simmering in mid-eighties heat this weekend, I will be heading down to Virginia to melt in upper-nineties heat. It’s going to suck. I’ll move through it slowly and probably come out of it alive on the other side. I will be traveling with two heat haters though. And they’re going to complain.

I grew up in Roanoke, VA. To a Pennsylvanian, that is considered down south. The old homestead is a little Cape Cod. As a youngster, my sister and I shared a small bedroom on the first floor, as the upstairs had never been finished. By the time I was 5 and my sister was 9, it was obvious we could not share a room that was only 6 x 9 feet. And so, the upstairs was finished and we climbed up there every summer night to lie still and breathe slowly. We did not have air conditioning. A window unit would not come along until I was in high school. We just learned how to deal with the heat. We knew the importance of well-placed wet washcloths and floor fans.

In my early adult years, the hubby and I lived outside of Washington, D. C. This is where humidity originated and still resides. After several years of sweltering (and commuting), we moved to Pennsylvania. Often, it is 10-15 degrees cooler here than in our old digs.

After being here for 13 years, I find myself fantasizing about the south. Not quite in a Gone with the Wind sort of way, but I find there is something down south that has never quite made it up north. No one here has ever made me a pie. Or a loaf of bread. Or a casserole (not sure I’d want that, though). Up here, I pass people everyday whom I spoken to at length at a party and they don’t even make eye contact when I pass them in the street. I could lay (lie, damn! I’ll never get it) dead in my house for days before the smell would attract attention. No pie bringer would ever rescue me.

I want people to know that I exist, even if that means I can see them peeking at me from behind their curtains. I crave porch sitting and want to have a view of others sitting on their porches. I want someone to tell me to drop in any time whether they mean it or not. And if I do drop by, they will be extremely nice to me for 15 or 20 minutes, even if they are missing a plane. By golly, I like it when people smile and wave. They might go off and talk shit about me behind my back. But people will do that anywhere.

Would I ever trade no pies for wet washcloths? How long could I last in the south? Would I quickly be itching to return to Pennsylvania? And if I did itch, would that be a heat rash?


  1. how sad. no pies no pop over invites. you sound so wrong for that place...i hope you get your man to move you all to where you want to be. heat or no...we all need to know we exist right? have a good trip and visit. heat aint so bad when you have good interactions or experiences...better than freezing aint it.

  2. Not sure if they still do the pie thing here in Virginia. That's what I was told when we moved here from California, but I'm still waiting!

    It is hot this week--99 today. But it sounds like you will enjoy your visit anyway--it's good to go back home.

  3. Here I am living in the south dreaming about sleeping on a screened in porch near a lake in Vermont. I think heat, like popsicles and slip 'n slides was made for kids. Believe me southern heat & humidity, not to mention skeeters and palmetto bugs, can make a menopausal woman want to commit hari kari. I think I'll get me some wet wash clothes!

  4. hmmm...interesting....I sometimes fantasize about living in a big Northern city...NYC namely. I like the impersonality theory at least. People here will talk your ear off it you let them, including me probably.