Monday, July 15 2013 22:26 EDTTrackback URL: http://www.fatsquirrel.org/bologs/veghead/trackback.php/1006
We've had "excessive heat warnings" here for a week or two, but the temperature just keeps creeping up. Today it went over 100F and so I made sure I never left the air-conditioned world without just cause. "Just cause" in this case involves the journey from my house to the bus stop (4 minutes); the walk from the bus stop in center city to my office building (45 seconds); the walk from my office to the home-time bus stop (4 minutes); the walk from the final bus stop to my house (12 minutes). All of these times are tiny and therefore completely dealablewith. But today the bus journey home wasn't the simple quotidian air-conditioned ride home, oh no. Today something was wrong. The bus was packed to capacity, and that includes around 30 people standing, packed together, including me. I was carrying a shoulderbag, a 5L wine-box, and enough sweat to drown several children. The people around me on the bus weren't happy about me holding my arms up to grasp the parallel bars on either side of the bus but they were sitting down, the lucky bastards, so I was unconcerned about the gallons of sweat which were pouring off me. They wanted their seats more than they were disgusted about drops of sweat from a stranger.
The A/C on Septa buses is pretty awesome (in the literal use of that word) but on a day like today, with a lawbreaking number of passengers stuffed into the ridiculously small vehicle, it couldn't keep up. After a a few miles it became apparent that even the youngest, fittest, healthiest passengers were suffering with sweat rivers. It was, without doubt, the hottest and most humid place I've ever been, and that includes the London Underground during a heat wave.
We got as far as Roxborough and finally the crowd had started to dissipate. A young lady, formally from the sweatbox at the front of the bus, decided to occupy a recently vacated seat at the back of the bus where we were all concentrating on not passing out. "Oh it's even hotter here isn't it" she observed. "Can we open that air vent thing?".
A young boy opposite me (he was probably in his late 20's but that's my judgement these days) forced it open and in an instant the back of the bus was bathed in beautiful, sweat-evaporating cool air from the outside world. There was a mutual sigh of pleasure from all passengers at the back of the bus and for the first time in half an hour I stopped worrying about collapsing. A minute or two later and I was feeling human again. "I think, we're going to make it!" I said after a minute of wallowing in the cool fresh air.
After alighting the bus into the cool fresh air, I felt free again; the outside temperature was around 95F - so whatever was going on inside the bus was clearly the work of something astonishingly evil.