Get ’em a cold drink to beat the heat
Updated: August 6, 2012 6:23AM
Weather this hot awakens painful memories.
Oh, sure, I’m sitting, writing this in air conditioning while outside — as the TV weather people intone — the temperature may reach triple digits.
I remember other asphalt-melting steamy days when I was a letter carrier staggering through the streets of Westchester gamely attempting to make sure that neither rain, nor sleet nor hellish hot weather kept me from completing my appointed rounds.
As one of the newer and younger carriers I was given a route no one else wanted. The reason no one wanted this particular route was its length — all-single-family homes with long walkways and steps. The ideal route has lots of apartment buildings and few steps. For a letter carrier the less walking the better. And getting out of the sun or snow, depending on the season, also is good.
But I had a long route — lots of steps, lots of sun.
My first day was a day like today, egg-frying hot and St. Louis humid.
Before long I could barely read the addresses through the sweat running in rivulets into my eyes. My shirt and pants were soaked with sweat and as I climbed stairs I panted like a played-out German shepherd. At least I didn’t drool.
Even today when I drive through Westchester I always avoid that part of town. Who wants to revisit the place they were sure they were going to die?
And about halfway through the route I really felt, as a Charles Dickens character put it, that I was about to be “compelled to become immortal.’’
Funny thing is, few people seemed to notice.
There was this soggy, panting creature staggering down the street and people would just stand there and hold out their hand for the mail, or just say, “Have anything for me today?’’
I would croak: Grzngakfordon. Then on to the next stop.
Only once that day did some nice lady gaze upon me with horror and pity. She ran inside and brought out a glass of cold water.
I think that glass of cold water is why I lived to tell this tale.
I finally finished the route about 6 p.m. — more than three hours late.
When my supervisor asked me where the hell I had been, I croaked: Grzngakfordon. “Wimp,’’ I know he thought and gave me another route the next day.
The moral of this story is: It’s going to be a hot summer, looks like. If you see your letter carrier coming, or the UPS driver, or whoever, offer something to drink, a glass of cold water, or iced tea, or maybe a soda.
It may seem like a small thing to do, but it isn’t.