July 2nd, 2002

The gentleman is always properly dressed

Call me crazy

I sit here writing in my office, cool air blowing down on me from the vent that hangs over a good portion of my desk. Outside, the city is gripped by this second day of the summer’s first heat wave. I, on the other hand, am tucked away in my stale air that measures in at all of 65 degrees. I can’t even imagine what the past two days have been like for Paul, whose shop reached 85 with a 50% humidity last week.

Truth be known, though, I haven’t wanted to come into the office for the past couple of days. No, this isn’t the typical "I hate my job and will avoid it at all cost" woes. It’s as simple as not wanting to be in this air-conditioned environment.

I know it’s weird, but over the past few days, the heat here has struck me as a good thing. If anything, the heat has seemed honest. I want to be outside and sticky, knowing that my body working to cool itself. I want to feel my muscles working, drawing in the heat and somehow energized by it. Sure it’s uncomfortable, but the discomfort is just part of the experience. It’s real, it’s tangible, and it makes a great deal more sense than closing myself in a box and getting doused with refrigerant-cooled air.

Near as I can tell, I’m not a side of beef. And before you get on me for not knowing what it’s really like out there, let me just share that I’ve chosen these hottest days of the summer so far to start bicycling into work again. I know, it's HOT.

On a side note, I blame air conditioning for summer colds. I’ve no empirical evidence to support this, just some cockamamie theory I cooked up somewhere along the way. Summer colds seem to hit during the hottest part of the summer, when the difference between the real world and the maxi-fridge is the greatest. As our bodies struggle to adapt to the 20-30 degree temperature changes that occur every time we step in or out of our offices, we’re left weakened. Whatever virus or bacteria we’ve happened to pick up in the course of our day (which, of course, are thriving in the heat) go straight to work on us.
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The gentleman is always properly dressed

Is it so wrong?

This morning as I was stretching out before my ride, I turned on the TV just to have some noise in the background. I flipped through the channels at first and found nothing. Flipped through again and settled on one of the Christian preachy shows… not because I was particularly interested in hearing the message behind Peter’s denial of Jesus again, but because the woman who was ‘preachin’ had a certain quality about her that I found intriguing.

Ok, yes, she had that genuinely cute, south of the Mason-Dixon Line look about her, and the way that her Virginian accent curled around her words as she was speaking was more than a little appealing. Really, though, these were just pleasant addenda to what drew me in. What I found most attractive and most compelling was that she clearly had come to terms with her faith and approached what she was doing with an incredible understated grace and humility. She didn’t beat the audience over the head with her ideas. She didn’t raise or otherwise deliberately modulate her voice. She didn’t seem to be following any kind of set formula. She just spoke honestly about what she believed. She put herself into everything she talked about.

I might disagree with most every philosophical stance she takes, and I have natural reservations about the whole televangelist concept, but that kind of honesty is difficult to find. She got my attention.

For a while at least. Eventually I had to get out the door and deal with my own personal quest.