University of Baltimore Asst. Prof. and Bohemian Rhapsody Columnist Marion Winik ponders “the half-life of a snow cone” and other heated, heat-related topics.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s night? Thou art more lovely and more temperate, but I’m afraid that’s not saying much. These nights are thick and heavy as black velour, hot and formfitting against our bodies, over our faces. A humid landscape through which we plod like testy zombies, arms outstretched, eyes blank, returning slowly and inexorably to our air-conditioned tombs. We have sacrificed our last calorie of energy on the altar of daytime. We have burned the skin off our thighs getting into the car. We have permanent ruts between our eyes from the weight of our sunglasses. Exhausted drag queens in melted makeup, we have worked our last nerve.
Motorcycles thunder, jet planes roar, a distant procession of sirens woo-woo for hours, as if people for blocks around us are dropping like flies. The cicadas drone the same annoying phrase over and over, a garage band of four-year-olds with sitars. Then the monotony is cracked: shattered glass, a shot, a bomb, a firecracker, maybe just a boom car throbbing down the street. Toward midnight, the fabric of the sky is torn by heat lightning; even the atmosphere cannot take it anymore.