[213] Hotter Than Hell

If you live anywhere in the Southwest of the United States, you know that it feels like Satan’s armpit outside. The sweltering heat is prompting various state officials to ask people to conserve electricity to maintain the electric grid integrity. Anyone who lives in Arizona, southern California, Nevada or southern Utah just wants to sit in the air conditioning, as temperatures are well over 100° in all these places, reaching as high as around 125° in Death Valley, CA. They don’t call it that for nothing!

The heat itself is miserable. Just imagine multiplying this due to working around hot equipment. That’s what life at work has been like this week. Along our grill line, there are two six-foot long flat top grills, another smaller flat top next to each one for cooking eggs, two double-vat fryers, a hot-holding unit for French fries and a steam line. Fortunately, only one grill is used during the week. But imagine, however, all this heat in an area that has poorly-functioning air conditioning. I imagine the air temperature hovering over 100°. The cooks, including myself, go around with a cold, wet towel wrapped around our necks in order to stay cool. The other day, I dipped my towel into ice water. Initially it was a little shock, but it sure felt nice.

Sometimes, to alleviate the heat, we go off the line and stand in the walk-in freezer for a moment. Some might worry about thermal shock, but we get rather overheated working, so we need to cool off. I’m surprised steam doesn’t emanate from our skin. When possible, I’m walking around to another close-by area where the A/C works decently. Today was forecasted to be the hottest day of the week, but from what I see, the 100°+ heat will continue at least for the rest of the month—not a day is to top out under 100°. If the line at work is this hot today, I don’t even want to imagine this weekend. To top all that off, this weekend is Father’s Day, so we’re going to be busy at work. People taking their dads out to dinner, sports tournaments and god-knows-what-else going on.

Have I ever mentioned how much I absolutely hate the summer? Well, I absolutely hate the heat. I know people who love it and wish the weather was hot all year. More power to you, and I hope you thoroughly enjoy baking in the sun. I’ve lived in this same area for almost 31 years now, and I bitch about the heat every summer. Weird, huh? “But why do you complain if you don’t like the heat? How come you don’t move?” It’s not that easy to do, Janet. You can’t just up and leave without having some kind of plan ahead of time. You need an idea of where you’re going, what kind of job you’re going to get, and have money for the move, rental expenses and shit like that. Sure, once certain circumstances are taken care of, I’ll be able to go elsewhere. For right now, however, I’m still here.

“I hate summer, to be honest. I hate dressing. I hate the heat. I hate sweaty people getting aggressively close to you when you’re walking down the street.”

Johnny Weir

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