So maybe it’s not the Serengeti per se, but it’s hot here in Texas. We just spent an hour and a half at soccer practice, watching a dozen pre-adolescent boys in windshorts, long socks, and flushed faces as they scrimmaged on the treeless field. No trees on the perimeter. No wind blowing. And P.S. it’s 103. Right now. As I’m typing. Now, the thermometer on my dashboard reads 113, but technically, the official reading is 103–with 103 predicted every day for the next week.
There stands one sky-high pole near the field, a light that comes on at dusk if a seasonal game is to be played. The one long eighteen inch-wide shadow that it cast was exactly where I set up my folding chair. To keep my lap shaded meant that my left ear was left vulnerable to the sun’s rays, and it quickly felt singed. Then another parent arrived, and he set his chair a couple feet to the left, closest to the pole (and the adjacent trashcan, around which menacing wasps flew). The others set their chairs to my right, so that we were all aligned perfectly like little planets, lifting our chairs and scooching back an inch at select intervals as the relentless sun traveled across the sky.
Just sitting in the shade, beads of sweat ran down my neck, down my spine, into the spot where a tramp stamp would be, had I been reckless and drunk over a decade ago. Even younger, thinner parents were pouring sweat and pounding bottled water. No wonder the kids, ever in motion, ever in the sun, kept hunching over to catch their breaths. Youth was not wasted on them. They kept up the pace–running, passing, kicking, yelling–stopping to take swigs from Igloos three times total. Those little buggers were tough!
We took my son out for ice cream afterward, where he got a scoop of cookies ‘n’ cream, loaded with toppings that included gummi bears (which he called “nummi bears”–”that’s what all the kids at school say”), as well as “whoopers,” which were really Whoppers, and some caviar-looking seawood fruit pellets with a name like soba. Odd. There we sat, consuming ice cream (not frozen yogurt) in the lovely air-conditionedness of the parlor, while my drenched bra began to cool down. Nothing like a wet underwire digging into your flesh to make you enjoy being a woman. Nonetheless, I felt a wave of gratitude: Thank you, Lord, that I was born in a First-World country, into an era with conditioned cold air, with enough disposable income to buy each family member ice cream with all the toppings you can shove in the cup. It may be hot, but we know how time flies. It’ll be Christmas in no time.