05 August 2012

hot and heavy

It was 102 degrees F in Universe City yesterday, and my friend J. and I went to float the river. 

Between the two of us, we'd brought exactly 16 ounces of water. This is not enough water, certainly not for three hours on the water in the blazing sun. 

Clearly neither of us could be bothered with little details like preparation. I did manage not to leave my keys in the glove compartment of his car, though, at the top of the float. That would have been very unfortunate when we got to the bottom, where my car was, and had no ride back. (We did both accidentally keep our towels in his car, which meant that we would have had very wet seats when we got to my car if I did not keep a two-sided blanket in the trunk of my car.)

I made the discovery that sunscreen actually works. (I have always kind of doubted that it could actually keep a person their original color. Prevent burn, yes. Prevent any tanning? No. But I am proven wrong.) Out of sheer paranoia about burning my shoulders that I once blistered in a noon-hour in the sun on the Masai-Mara Game Preserve in Kenya, I applied SPF 60 an hour before we hit the river. While on the river, I applied SPF 50, and then two bouts of SPF 30. I was so effective with the sunscreen that I still have the farmer's tan lines on my arms from the sleeves I wore last week. My shoulders didn't get a lick of sun, despite three hours in the direct 102 degree sun.

When we got out of the river, a guy and girl came up and asked for a ride up to the top. "I lost my keys in the river," the guy said. "She has hers, though." She held up a ziploc and shook it, keys inside.

"Sure," we said, and all piled into my car. We chatted on the way up, about their studies and J.'s hunting plans.

We dropped them off by J.'s car, and J. and I began sorting out all of our stuff. The couple thanked us and walked off further down the road. A few minutes later, they drove by us, in two cars.

Wait a minute.

The funny thing is that I wouldn't have cared. They could had just said, "We didn't plan for a shuttle, and both of our cars are at the top." I would have given them a ride. Why the lies? And thinking about it now, I wonder where their tubes were. Was there more to this plot than I could see?

So then my roommate and I went to a neighborhood block party in a sort of, er. hippie? neighborhood. If by hippie you understand that I mean some classic hippies and some people who view meth use as a daily necessity and some people who believe that living anywhere but under the overpass would be selling out and some hipsters whose only commonality with hippies is a disdain for the niceties of societally sanctioned hygiene.

I was by this point so dehydrated from the three hours in the sun without water that I had a raging headache and I felt sick, so I started buying beverages at every available opportunity. Fruit juice soda, yes, please. Iced tea, thank you. Water, absolutely. Well, whiskey sour if I must.

We finally went and sat down inside a restaurant that lacked air conditioning. "This feels like... somewhere," I kept saying. "Liberia, I think. Or maybe South Sudan. It's all hot and dark and humid, with what might as well be a bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling." I was probably the only person in the joint relishing the heavy, hot air.

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