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Friday, January 22, 2016

I've Always Said It: You're Hot

A re-post from 2012...

It is the dead of winter, and yet the woman standing in front of me in the grocery store check-out line has taken off her coat. Moments later, she removes the sweater she is wearing. Shortly after that she begins to useher crossed-off grocery list as a fan.

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

She turns 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 lock.

“Is that a hot flash?” I ask.

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

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, from the looks of things near the front of the bus, the need to wash one’s hair, even quarterly.

But still.

I was on fire.

I open my purse and dig around for my compact, hold the tiny mirrored oval up and examine my face. Funny, I think, you don’t look like you’re on fire.

I call my sister. Better get a second opinion.

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

“You sure are,” she says, absent-mindedly, the sound of papers moving. “I’ve always said so.”

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

One can 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 says. “Do you feel cranky, too?”


“I heard you get mood swings.”

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

“You’re kidding, right?”


The line goes quiet as I stare at the back of the head three seats in front of me.  I imagine what will happen to the environment should this man wash his hair.

“So what are you going to do?”

“I don’t know,” I say. “Go to work?”

“That’s probably wise,” she says, 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.


Marlene McCartney said...

A delightful chuckle!
I can say this as I'm well past the combustible stage!
Is there a #3 in the works?

Marlene McCartney said...

A delightful chuckle!
I can say this as I'm well past the combustible stage!
Is there a #3 in the works?

Anonymous said...

This too shall pass......but in the meantime...have the fire department on speed dial.

Catalyst said...

Believe it or not, this happens to men too. Not as much but it does.

Connie said...

Have been there and done that. Fortunately, I think the days of being on fire are mostly behind me. It will go away...eventually.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I remember those days well, I finally went on hormone replacement therapy for two years until my body finally straightened out. ( Not the horse pee one the plant based one) Watch what you eat....garlic and licorice will still give me a hot flash. My sister in law spent most of her time standing in front of the fridge freezer fanning herself.
I bought lots of cotton nightgowns and would change them two/three times a night...
Maybe you should hand out shampoo on the bus:)

Jono said...

On the plus side you can turn down the thermostat or defrost the freezer more quickly to save time and money.

sage said...

Hot flashes might be the answer to a Minnesota winter--glad I don't have to deal with them but right now I have my knee on ice and it is burning up.

fishducky said...

One of the VERY few perks of being 81--no more hot flashes!!

Sioux Roslawski said...

I once commented in front of my class (while I was in the middle of a hot flash), "I am so hot." They looked at me like I was crazy... They knew for certain I wasn't no Beyonce. I had to quickly say, "No, hot like temperature-wise."

Gigi said...

Siblings...what can you do?

jenny_o said...

Hot flashes seem to be such an individual thing, too. Some women barely have them, some suffer long past any reasonable time frame. Hope you're in the first group.

Camille said...

We had early ice out on the big lake last spring. That's right...mostly due to my standing out on the front deck and fanning myself in he general direction. X

Rose L said...

First time I had one I announced that I was one hot lady today.

River said...

I'm 63 and still having them occasionally, which I think is quite unfair.

Misha Gericke said...

I remember when my mom started getting them. Sounds terrible. I hope you find a way to make them bearable. :-)

justsomethoughts... said...

you know what they say, laugh and the world laughs with you, spontaneously combust, and you spontaneously combust alone.

Diane Tolley said...

Sigh. 14 years and counting. Personally, I think Global Warming is caused by all the flashing menopausal women.