It was 86 degrees by 6:20. This is at least 10 degrees warmer than necessary, if you ask me, but it’s nothing compared to the 100 degrees we are expecting late afternoon.
And I’m against it.
I pick up a flattened Wendy’s cup on the sidewalk, frown at it, walk it to the bus stop where I introduce it to the garbage can.
The humidity is oppressive, and I wipe the sweat from my forehead.
As an aside -- and you may not know this about me -- but I’m a head-sweater.
My mother’s a head-sweater, my son’s a head-sweater, and by golly no one cools off with layers of protective sheen better than we do.
Already I’ve formed a sweat mustache.
I dab at my newly acquired glow delicately. I own perhaps two dozen decorative handkerchiefs and do not understand how people live without them. Tissues? Do not speak to me of your paper tissues!
I laugh at your tissues!
I consider whether or not I may already be a bit dehydrated.
The man on the bike, the man who now waves every day at 6:24, is waving robustly from across the street. Given my distractions, what with the litter and the handkerchief smugness, he’s been forced to get my attention by slowing his bike to the point of almost tipping over.
“Good morning!" he hollers. "Good morning!”
I look up, smile at him, wave vigorously. “Good morning!”
I am not normally a "morning person", but why not, huh?
The bus arrives, and I board it gratefully.
It is refrigerated.
“Mornin’!” the bus driver says. “You doin’ all right today?”
“Too warm,” I say, smiling. “You’ll talk to someone about that for me, won’t you?”
“Heh, heh, heh,” he chuckles.
I move to the back of the bus, where my thoughts drift toward the river, down the embankments, and into the water.
I stand up as the bus arrives at my stop, pull one iPod earbud out so as to be alert should anything untoward happen. I de-bus, step down to the sidewalk. The heat feels like poverty, like desperation and I wonder: What do the homeless do during heat waves?
Just feet ahead of me, a woman has skittered forward rapidly as if goosed.
And I am next.
There is a large man, a heavy man shaped in the manner of ancient Egyptian architecture: pointed on top, spreading wider and wider, this pyramid of a man is sitting on one of the many ledges along Nicollet Mall. His hair is on end, his clothes dirty. Red-faced, wild-eyed, and mostly toothless, he is spitting venom at everyone who walks by.
And I am next.
“Do you care about me?” he demands, red-eyed and angry. “Because I sure as hell don’t care about you!”
I look into his eyes, and he pulls his fist back as if to strike me.
I put my index finger to my chest. I can’t look away.
He is ugly with the heat. He spits at my feet and I jump back. "Yes, you!" he screams. "I don’t care about you! I don’t care about you!”
I walk away, quickly.
I think I just found out what happens to the homeless in a heat wave.