Friday was the hottest weather the New York metropolitan area had sweltered from in weeks. (While it is not unusual for early September days to steam from the remains of August's humidity, the last three weeks of August were in the low 80s and clear, so the September heatwave was a slight shock to the system.) Of course, Friday was also the day I had set aside to walk around Queens and map a course for a tour I am leading in the spring for the New York City Transit Museum.
As I trudged from the Socrates Sculpture Garden to the subway to the Louis Armstrong House to Leo's Latticini to the Queens Museum of Art, the sun baked me in my clothes like veggies wrapped in aluminum foil on a grill. Sweat escaped from the brim of my homemade Mets-Cubs fisherman's cap, trickled down my brow, and stung my eyes. My face bathed in its salty wash, providing a fertile environment for zits.
One of my favorite lines in the movie Good Morning, Vietnam was when Robin Williams described the heat in the jungles of 'nam as so bad, one can do "a little crotch pot cookin'." By that description, I made a feast on Friday. My underwear was so soaked through with sweat that I felt like I just took a swim in the ocean while fully clothed.
After my stop at the Queens Museum of Art, I headed over to visit my friend Flo and meet her newborn baby, Joey. Despite my foul condition, Flo and her husband not only admitted me to their air conditioned apartment, but also allowed me to sit on their leather sofa. Joey peacefully slept as Flo described her efforts to bring him into the world.
Poor Flo was in labor for 36 hours before doctors gave in and performed a c-section. Unfortunately by that point, Joey was already in the birth canal, so pulling him out was a challenge. Flo said it felt like the OB was sitting on her chest while he tried extracting the baby.
"I need leverage," he yelled at the resident. "Go find another attending!"
A few minutes after she department, Joey finally popped out. Flo waited until Joey cried, held him a few minutes, and then slept for hours. She says it was worth it all.
I am never having a baby.
I stayed with Flo's family for 45 minutes before I departed for my next errands. My underwear was still sopping when I arrived at school to pick up a packet of reading for my lit class (free! I still can't believe it!), printed out another student's work for my workshop, and refilled my water bottle. Then I headed over to Grand Central Station to meet Husband in Connecticut, from where we would drive to Massachusetts for Alex's son's 5th birthday party on Saturday. My underwear was just drying out as the train pulled into Stamford.
After a delightful dinner at IHOP and some quick shopping for a birthday card, we motored up to the hotel in MA. When I finally fell into the shower at 10 pm, I cried tears of joy. Never have I been in such need of bathing or clean underwear.