Wednesday, June 16, 2004

On Heat

It has been very hot here today, hot and humid. There should be an equivalent expression to that one we use about the sort of cold that doesn't seem that bad when you go out, but which lodges in your very bones and sends shivers out for hours afterwards: bone-chilling cold. Nothing can get you warm then, nothing. Real cold doesn't act that sneakily, it either freezes and kills you outright or not at all. It's the bone-chilling damp cold that does real damage.

What I have experienced today is bone-boiling heat and humidity. I didn't feel that hot outside; I even spent an hour in the garden. But I have been suffering ever since from deep internal simmering and boiling, and cold showers do nothing to stop it. My skin is cool to touch, but my eyes look like they are turning into marbles, and when I breathe out you can see flames. Well, you can imagine flames. As I'm not related to dragons, as far as I know, this state is not a natural one.

This is probably why we say that animals are in heat when they suffer in the throes of severe sexual frustration. It must feel like this: a burning you can't slake, a boiling that will slowly turn you into cinders. Poor things.

I can now sympathize with some other phrases, too, like 'in the heat of the battle'. It's not about sweating because of lifting a heavy sword about as I used to think; it's about this deep heat which makes you want to crack something open. But I will never again want to be called a hottie; never.