Saturday, July 23, 2011


I've learned that y'all often enjoy the random. A bit o' crazy. A little side dish of my three ring circus in a doggie bag. And of course we all love the run. So I've decided to do a blog piece at the intersection: Random/Running. Not sure if this will become a permanent blog feature--we'll see how it goes. Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

First up, the random--a picture and a story about hot weather
Let me direct your attention to the top right. Yeah. That's what that says. 
(I'm actually a little afraid to admit this--but yesterday it actually felt kinda nice to be in the heat--I think it's growing on me)

About five years ago my brother, Mom and I collaborated to write a set of short stories about my lovably eccentric Dad as a birthday present. This is a cut-down version of one of those (all rights reserved).

I started dating my now-husband late in 2001, just after my parents moved to Annapolis, Maryland.  After spending the spring of 2002 abroad, I returned to spend my first summer in Annapolis. Future Mr. Joanna (herein, FMJ) and I were thrilled to be living not just on the same continent but just a short drive from each other. We hung out a lot, and on this particular day decided to go outside and play Frisbee. 

Annapolis disoriented me. Two of my recent summers had been spent at a camp in a large national forest in West Virginia. Most of the rest of my summers had been filled with lazy walks to the corner store, sitting on neighbors’ porches talking, hiking in the mountains and visiting my Grampa. In Annapolis, I was surrounded by pavement, cars, and condos, all reflecting the intense July sun. I pulled my rectangular, thick-rimmed olive green sunglasses down over my eyes and threw the Frisbee to FMJ. The whitest man alive. The man who, standing on this concrete-paved county-sized parking lot, wearing SPF 80, was already turning red. Furthermore, I was realizing that I was not properly hydrated, so after 20 minutes we headed inside to relax and cool off. 

[I am totally redacting the middle portion of this story for my mother's benefit, even though it's hilarious. You're welcome, Mom.]

I got two drinks and walked to the kitchen table. I knew I was beat red, and so was he. “Some sun out there today, isn’t it? I think I’m starting to burn,” he said. “Yeah, what were we thinking, playing Frisbee in 97 degree heat with 90 percent humidity?”  

Just then my Dad walked in. On account of the redacted part of this story I was thinking “Please Dad, say something normal. Anything, anything normal.” “You kids look worn out. FMJ, you look like you might have heat stroke,” he said. FMJ nodded, “Yeah, it’s pretty hot out there. We only played for about 20 minutes.” Dad nodded in that chipper, parakeet way that nodders nod. I was doing everything I could to look calm, but I could hear it. I knew what was coming. “You know, one time, in was hot,” he began. 

“Back in 1976, Joanna’s mother and I went to a dance in a high school gymnasium in Charleston. Back in those days people dressed up for dances. You know, suits, jackets, ties. Well, not that evening. Hot. There were no windows in this gymnasium. There was only one door, and it was in a brick building, in July. There were probably a hundred or a hundred and fifty people there, all dancing, so you can imagine the body heat we were generating. Oh my God, it was hot! I absolutely couldn’t stand it. I had to take off my jacket and my neck tie and sit down for a while. But there was a man just dancing up a storm wearing a polyester double-knit suit, buttoned up with a necktie on. I couldn’t imagine how he could stand it, I was burning up. So I asked him. And you know what he told me? He said, ‘it’s polyester, so it keeps the cool air in!’ Can you believe that?  In a room with no windows in the dead of the summer—it keeps the cool air in. I bet if I had listened closely I could have heard the wind chiming through his head. Ding, dong!”*

Ten minutes later when I walked FMJ to the door I thought to myself, “If we survive this summer…” FMJ turned to me and said, “Jo, you know I love you, right?”  And I did.   

* to be absolutely clear, I love my Dad's stories. I really, truly would not have him any other way!

Once....back in 2011, it was hot. By now you've all seen this fantastic weather map (seriously, go look at it. You'll laugh). I've been super thankful for the ol' gym, with it's ac, treadmills, nearby parking, etc. The convenient parking counts for a LOT. But one of the more obscure things I've been thankful for is this. Is this a sign that I'm getting old?!?

1 comment:

Damaris said...

HAHAHAHA. your dad's funny and i LOVE that weather map!!! that totally gave me a good giggle. :)