The Columbus area is bracing for absurd heat today. The temperature is supposed to reach the mid-90s, and the “heat index” (which is kind of the opposite of the wind chill factor, and looks at temperature and dew point, to assess overall mugginess) is supposed to hit 105 degrees. That’s hot enough that the National Weather Service has issued an extreme heat advisory, and some businesses, like my nephew’s pizza kitchen, are adjusting their schedules and practices to try to avoid exposing workers to dangerous heat levels.
In short, we’ll be reaching the thermometer point at which, traditionally, your air conditioning goes on the fritz.
Is there a way to beat the heat in the beachless Midwest? Not really. The National Weather Service heat advisory recommends wearing lightweight and loose fitting clothing (no duh!), drinking plenty of water, spending more time in air conditioned or well-ventilated places, and avoiding doing much outside except in the early morning or late evening. So you can stay inside, drinking cool beverages, crank up their air conditioning, and watch movies — but that’s really just avoiding the heat, not beating it.
Or you can follow the post-enlightenment advice of the Bill Murray character in Groundhog Day and go outside and embrace the heat. Recognize that summers in the Midwest are often crushingly hot and that’s just part of the deal. Walk around in air so scalding and moist that it feels like steam. Note that the squirrels and birds aren’t exactly doing industrious things. And sweat until even that lightweight and loose clothing that the National Weather Service recommended is soaked through, weighs a ton, and is clinging ferociously to every damp, broiling inch of your skin.
And then, when you realize that you are behaving like an idiot, come back inside, drink a cold glass of water, and hope for all that’s holy that your air conditioning doesn’t go on the fritz like it did last summer.