The temperatures Friday had been sub-Saharan, and my friends and I needed some relief.
We were headed out on the town for a few adult beverages, but there was one thing standing in our way — literally and figuratively.
My front door.
To that point, it had been our metal, rectangular barrier from the sweaty, irritable world outside, and now the time had come for us to leave it, and the air-conditioned comforts it helped enclose, behind.
Like a group of good-looking teenagers in a bad slasher movie, only slightly aware of the horrors that awaited us on the other side, we swung open the door with a good deal of trepidation and dread.
It was 10 p.m., the sun had long since set, but it didn’t matter.
What felt like a cloud of thick, hot air enveloped us as we groaned, muttered obscenities and cursed the meteorological phenomenon that causes humidity.
We had only been outside a minute when one of my friends, a longtime Lowcountry native who recently relocated to apparently less-hot Tampa, Fla., made a poignant observation.
“You guys live in the frickin’ Amazon.”
As a thin layer of sweat formed on my skin, I was in no position to dispute this claim.
I think we all can agree that this past weekend featured a three-day stretch of heat so brutal, unbearable and soul-sucking that we were left to wonder why the heck we choose to live here.
I know I was.
I was questioning that decision because I am particularly ill-suited for such a climate. It has a real Jekyll and Hyde effect on me.
Not unlike a delicious gazpacho, I am delightful when chilled. Jovial, fun-loving — dare I say — affable.
Put me in a hot room, a hot car or outside on a particularly hot day, and the world suddenly becomes an intolerable place.
I am reduced to a puddle of animosity and flop sweat that would make Richard Nixon blanch and wonder aloud whether I have some kind of glandular issue.
My mood slowly deteriorates, making it absolutely necessary that I seek out a source of cold air or risk some heat-induced moment of flammable irritability.
An uninspired joke about some lame corporate rock band that typically would cause me to roll my eyes is met instead with aggressive sarcasm.
“What a hilarious Nickelback joke! Seriously, bravo! I thought I’d heard every good Nickelback joke in 2008 but turns out I was wrong! Very, very wrong! Have you ever thought about doing comedy for a living? This stuff is so avant garde! Like a young George Carlin!”
It’s embarrassing for everyone involved. Mostly me. And the person who told the painfully obvious Nickelback joke. They suck. We get it.
While I do not posit that this week’s playlist features songs that will help you avoid similar meltdowns or beat the heat, they should you remind you of things, times and places that make life worth living. Yes, even as the mercury rises and all seems lost ... and hot. Very, very hot.
• Kaiser Chiefs, “Heat Dies Down” — For us, the heat will die down sometime in October. I apologize for my behavior in the meantime.
• New Young Pony Club, “Ice Cream” — Nothing like dairy products when the heat index reaches into triple digits.
• Matt & Kim, “Ice Melts” — A song every polar bear has on his iPod.
• James Brown, “Cold Sweat” — Only James Brown could make flu-like symptoms sound sexy.
• The Kinks, “Too Hot” — Yes, it is. Too hot for exercising outside. Too hot for socializing. Too hot for life.
• The Fruit Bats, “The Blessed Breeze” — Because sometimes a breeze on a hot day feels heaven sent.
• G. Love & Special Sauce, “Cold Beverage” — A song about something cold that somehow still feels sweaty.
• The Cool Kids, “Swimsuits” — Find some friends. A body of water. Beat the heat.