Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Before Air Conditioning

When I said a few posts back that I like hot weather, you may have gotten the fallacious impression that I enjoy weather like today. I'm here to tell you I was lying through my teeth. I drive a black truck (I know, what the heck was I thinking) and by ten this morning the pavement was hot as a skillet. I fully expected my wheels to melt.
The summer I graduated from high school I got a job with the highway department. For the most part it was a breeze, but one day I made the unfortunate mistake of angering our crew chief. He was about the age that I am now and I made fun of his bald spot. The next five days (August 1968) I inspected asphalt.
The contractor was resurfacing a section of highway and someone from the highway department had to check the surface to ensure that it didn't have high spots or low spots. Due to my glib and unbecoming commentary regarding the hair loss of my beloved boss, I became that inspector. I realized right away that this did not look good as all the folks working around me were as red as a rugburn.
About noon on the second day it occurred to me that he must be folically sensitive. Everyday's a school day. When I got back to the work center on the third day (eight pounds lighter), I caught him before he left for the evening. I promised to wash his car, rotate his tires, change the oil and bring him some of my mamma's blackberry cobbler. He smiled and said "let's talk on Friday."
I never mentioned hair again. In fact from that day forward, I was mindful of everything I said to "Mr. I'll-throw-your-butt-in-a-vat-of-scalding-tar bossman."
The thing about hot weather is this: when folks come from up north in October and November they think "hey, this weather is great!!!!" They go back to Michigan and sell the homeplace and move here. They are sooo happy until summer. At that point they accost you in the Wal-Mart parking lot screaming "HOW CAN YOU REDNECK HILLBILLIES LIVE IN THIS HELLHOLE!!!!! HAS NO ONE EVER POINTED OUT THAT IT'S A FURNACE HERE!!!!"
I always smile and say, "you should have lived here before we had air conditioning."

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