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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Have You Always Looked That Hot?

It was the dead of winter, and yet the woman standing in front of me in the grocery store check-out line had taken off her coat. Moments later, she removed the sweater she was wearing. Shortly after that she began using her crossed-off grocery list as a fan.

I watched a line of dark red pigmentation creep up from somewhere below her neckline and work its way into her fashionably short hair.

She turned around in an agitated, how-much-longer-do-I-have-to-stand-here kind of way, the red moving up her neck and onto her jaw. Our eyes locked.

“Is that a hot flash?” I asked.

A bead of sweat ran from her temple to midway down her cheek. “Yes,” she said.

That was at least 10 years ago, and I’ve thought of that woman many times since then.

And I thought of her again this morning, when I spontaneously combusted at the bus stop.

I was surprised, frankly, when I got onto the bus fully engulfed in flames and no one noticed. Of course, at that time of morning there are many things that go unnoticed, including, judging by the man near the front, the need to wash one’s hair, even quarterly.

But still.

I was on fire.

I opened my purse and dug around for my compact, held the tiny mirrored oval up and examined my face. Funny, I thought, you don’t look like you’re on fire.

I called my sister. Better get a second opinion.

I skittered straight into conversation, by-passing the social niceties. “I’m on fire.”

“You sure are,” she said, absent-mindedly. “I’ve always said so.”

“No, smartie; I mean I think I’m having a hot flash.”

One could almost hear her sitting up straighter. I am two years older than she is, and much of my life has served as a warning.

“Really? What’s it like?”

“It’s like no one else in the room has noticed that the joint’s on fire.”

“Wheeeee!” she said. “Do you feel cranky, too?”

“What?”

“I heard you get mood swings.”

“I’ll mood-swing you,” I said, mock-angry.

“You’re kidding, right?”

“Right,” I said.

The line went quiet as I looked at the back of the head three seats in front of me, the man who needed to think about what washing his hair would do to the environment.

“So what are you going to do?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “Go to work?”

“That’s probably wise,” she said, audibly nodding. “You’ll want to keep building that social security, old lady.”

“Why do you hate me?”

She sighs. “Why do you make me hurt you?”

“Fair enough,” I mock grumble. My sister: my friend, my nemesis, my secret weapon against the world, has once again put my life in perspective.

What do you do? You go on.

Even if you might be in flames whilst doing it.

31 comments:

savannah said...

it will pass, trust me on this one key thing, sugar! xoxoxox

Indigo Roth said...

Ah, Pearl, Pearl... it comes to us all, even in cold weather. I once stood buck naked at the bus stop as the flames licked higher, and nobody noticed. Well, they pretended to not notice. Tho a passing police horse did whinny a little. Roth x

Douglas said...

If only people would suffer alone... the world would be so tranquil...

Sioux said...

Once, in the middle of a hot flash, I interrupted a math lesson to exclaim, "I'm so hot!"

My third graders were aghast. They knew good and well I was no Beyoncé. I quickly explained, "I'm so hot temperature-wise."

Menopause. Good times.

Lowandslow said...

Sounds like being a female can be pretty tough at times. But lemme tell you, being a male with jock itch in the summertime in Texas can be pretty tough, too. ;)

S

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Keep a small fan and a pitcher of ice water on hand at your desk...dress in layers so you can remove items without ending up in your skivvies....deep breaths...there are lots of natural products on the market that help (a little) and keep a complete change of clothing at the office. This too shall pass and then you will be FREE FREE FREE.

Simply Suthern said...

Maybe you should have Alicia Keys' "Girl on Fire" as your bus boarding soundtrack.

Shelly said...

And here in the land of daily heat indexes of 110 plus, life is a continuous hot flash.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
There's always Wild YAM! (I kid you not...)

Jayne Martin said...

Only you could make hot flashes funny. So glad that period of my life is over and I managed to not murder anyone.

fishducky said...

As I recall, menopause SUCKED!!

jenny_o said...

Getting too warm (temp-wise) will often trigger a hot flash. Be proactive! Take Delores' pitcher of ice water and dunk your head in it at the first sign of overheating!

That's not what I actually DO, but it's sure what I WISH I could do.

Ginny said...

And doesn't it come on so ALL OF A SUDDEN...first you are fine, then all of a sudden you are on fire! I have a little flip fan by the couch and keep a tiny hand held one in my purse. I always wanted a sister...

Launna said...

I cannot stand how my head feels like it is enflamed in flames.. I love your redition on this though.... if men only new...

Nessa Locke said...

I want to say something funny, but I've had some temporary experience with hot flashes, and all I can say is how proud I am of you for not peeling off all your clothes and streaking nude down the street. (Not that I have ever done that. I don't care what you heard.)

Jack Sparrow said...

My meds give me what we call in the UK hot flushes. Seems unfair, I have it all to go through again a few years from now.....x

Leenie said...

Just be glad you live in snow country. Having that personal heating system that has you leaving melted footprints in January and kicking off the blankets during arctic weather does have a few advantages. If it just wasn't so random and unpredictable!

I do wonder why the medical industry hasn't jumped on this. Either as a weapon (spontaneously combusting enemies would be better than poison) a survival tool, saving cash on home heating and cold weather clothing---there is money to be made on the control of hot flashes. The possibilities are ENDLESS.

Christian at Point Counter-Point Point Point said...

Women are amazing and fascinating creatures.

Daisy said...

As others have said, this too shall pass and you'll be normal again...won't you???

mapstew said...

I HAVE to show this to Mrs. Map!
And my sister!
I think I might be getting them too! :¬)

xxx

Joanne Noragon said...

I slid right into the post-menopausal world one day between the ages of 39 and 40. Never broke a sweat. My daughters wish they had my genes. Don't know what to tell them.

Merlesworld said...

I did enjoy winter when I was having hot flushes now I feel the cold.
Merle............

Daisy said...

Ah, I feel for you, Pearl. Hot flashes are sudden and wicked, but they do eventually pass, thank goodness!

Kristy @Loveandblasphemy said...

I am scared. I am 37 and already feel like I get retched hot flashes. I fear I will be quite afflicted by this as I get older. Yikes.

River said...

I remember my hot flashes days and I'm so very glad they're over. There was nothing on earth worse than having opposite temperature extremes every 40 minutes, until I worked out that caffeine made them worse and cut waaaay back on the coffee. Still got the hot flashes, but not every 40 minutes. And I never had the mood swings either.

rmm4361 said...

Ah there is hope then... mine are sporadic and the last one happened at the end of what had been a quite wonderful date!

Linda O'Connell said...

Not Your Mother's Book is looking for stories on menopause. This is a good start of one.

The Savage said...

Why do I feel an Alicia Keys song running through my head?

This girl is on fiiiiiiiiiiire!

Diane Tolley said...

And then I flash! I turn to cinder and ash . . .
And do they notice? No. Except when a bead of sweat runs the length of my nose and drips onto the piece of pizza I'm offering to one of my kids.
Umm . . . ick.

Pat Tillett said...

Yet another reason that I'm so very darn happy to NOT be a woman!

Ankur Anand said...

Beautiful !