Are We All Heatiots?

Have you ever noticed that people who live in countries where it’s hot all the time, deal with heat completely opposite to how we deal with heat?

Sitting with me right now is Taamir, from Lybia, one of the hottest countries in the world,  where temperatures have been recorded as high as 1340 F/570 C and Gordon (call-me-Gordo) from Ottawa where people dropped like flies during this past weekend’s 850 F/300 C temperatures.

 Let’s talk heat.

 XUP: So, gentlemen, what’s the best way to deal with high, high temperatures?

 GORDO:  Crank up the A/C man!

 TAAMIR: I do not wish to offend Mr. Gordo, but this is a very, very bad thing to do. When you spend your days in an air conditioned environment you are unable to adapt to the heat when you do have to go outdoors.  This is very stressful to the body and can cause much illness and even death. Moving from very cool conditions into very hot and back and forth again takes a heavy toll on the body.  It makes you more susceptible to colds, flu and many other ailments and will wreak havoc with your organs over the long term. Also, air conditioning will make you fat because your body does not have to expend any energy to keep itself cool

XUP: Oh dear. So maybe we should keep the A/C off or very low.  What about clothing? I notice you’re wearing a dark robe-like ensemble today, Taamir. Isn’t that hot?

TAAMIR: Very much the opposite, Missy Zoop, you see…

XUP: Sorry to interrupt, but what did you call me?

TAAMIR: Missy Zoop. Is that not your name? X.U.P. is not pronounced Zoop?

XUP: I never really thought about it, but okay. Please go on with what you were saying.

TAAMIR:  Dark clothing absorbs sunlight and the heat radiating from your body, but if it is loose-fitting, and there is even a small breeze, the wind convects the heat away faster than it is absorbed. Dark fabric provides more shade than white fabric, and so decreases the amount of light that directly reaches the skin. Plus, warm air rises and is replaced by cool air. The movement of the warm air creates a breeze under my robes that sucks up cooler air from the bottom of the robe and pushes it out the top.  So wearing a dark robe is like having a suit with a built in fan.

GORDO:  Whoa man, that’s like totally messed up. I’d so completely go mental if I had to, like, wear that blanket to the beach. As you can see, I keep cool in my cut-offs and tank, man. I say the less shit you have to wear, the better, right? That makes sense.

XUP: Well, Gordo,  it certainly seems to make sense to millions of Canadians who strip down as the temperatures go up. How about food, guys? What do we like to eat on hot days to keep us cool?

GORDO: Let me answer that in one word:  Bar-Bee-Cue! Whooooo! We eat everything off the barbeque in the summer, man.  We don’t have to heat up the house with the oven and we get to eat all the stuff that makes life worth living: steaks, ribs, chops, burgers and brats. A little potato salad and some corn on the cob on the side – oh ya!

TAAMIR: Oh dear, oh dear.  It is a great wonder indeed that you have all not expired from heart failure by now. This heavy starchy, fatty diet is acceptable if you lived in the arctic, but for hot weather, you need spicy food. Spice increases blood circulation, which brings more hot blood from the core of the body to the skin’s surface and dilates capillaries in the skin. This makes you sweat which is the best defense against heat, bringing the heat out and away from your body. 

XUP: I love spicy foods, so I have no problem with that theory.  But, what about drinks, Taamir? We’ve all heard the old wives’ tale that hot drinks cool you off. Is that true?

GORDO: That’s total crap! Everyone knows when it’s hot nothing goes down better than an ice cold BEER!! Whoooooo!! Or for the pansies, Coke, iced tea or lemonade. Right, dude?

TAAMIR: Again, I am sorry to say, you are quite mistaken.  While there is nothing to be gained from consuming the aforementioned old wives’ hot beverages on a hot day, cold beverages will do you more harm than good – most particularly those of an alcoholic nature. Consuming drinks that are too cold when one feels hot is dangerous as it freezes the throat and stomach. It could lead to bad digestion, gastric problems, breathing difficulties, cold and flu, sinusitis, so on and so forth.  I recommend room temperature beverages, with alcohol and caffeinated drinks in moderation.

XUP: Thanks for clearing that up. Any other advice on how to make the best of the hot weather, Taamir?

GORDO: Waddya keep asking him for? It’s summer, man! We can’t live like Bedouins in Canada. We’re all tired of being cooped up inside watching the snow fall.  We wanna get out to the cottage, to the beach, play some ball, have some picnics, do some gardening, pitch some horseshoes, swim, waterski.  Vacation time! Patios, patios, patios. Whoooooo!

TAAMIR: We usually a nap at midday.

 There you have it. Two completely different ways of dealing with the heat. Can we learn anything from Taamir? Or does Gordo have a point? 





11 responses to “Are We All Heatiots?

  1. Well Zoop, all I can say is that I loathe A/C with a vengence (as I sit here in the office with a wool sweater on) and that I love me a glass of cold white wine on the balcony at the end of a sweltering day.

  2. I’ll bet ya ten bucks, Zoop (I love that name) that our pal Gordo was in the naked bike ride this past Saturday — or, as we dubbed it in our newsroom, Assholes on Bikes.

    When I was in Dubai at the end of November, the beaches and pool decks were deserted, because it was in the cool season, where daytime temperatures only reach the low 30s Celsius. During March to November, I’m told, it’s considered a cool night if the temperature dips below 40.

    I was the guest of my college roommate (who was born and raised in Nepean), his wife and son. Rick and Heather have been in the UAE for about eight years, and are starting to become acclimatized. A couple times, Rick commented on it being a rather cool day, with the temp in the high 20s. He took a lot of ribbing from me on that count. I took the desert safari, which starts about an hour before sunset, and lasts about three hours after. I told Rick how freezing I was just before we headed back to Dubai, because it had dropped to a shockingly low 19 degrees in the desert sand!

    It’s all perspective and context, eh, Missy Zoop?

  3. Personally I think any temperature over 15 C can and should be considered cruel and unusual punishment. Go to the very back of the cave and come out only after the big round shiny thing in the sky has gone away. If you can see a shadow it may turn on you and kill you.

  4. Well Missy Zoop, I really like what Taamir says and I think we ought to listen to them a lot more. And don’t you just love his politeness? While we’re at it, will someone shut that Gordo up before I attack him? hahaha

    When it’s hot as hell, I like to take a warm shower to cool down. Of course, a nice cold glass of wine also helps but then that would just give me an excuse to have one right? lol

  5. Jazz – Agree 100% I think Taamir would be okay with that. Wine is chilled, not iced and we don’t guzzle it, (do we?) so there’s no danger of freezing our gullets. I’m happy I work in a shitty old building whose A/C barely works. I have a fan.

    Bob – The thing here is, I think, that we tend to try to fight with Ma Nature over everything instead of working with it. Those who live in extreme climates work with the heat or the cold. We, in temperate climates are always doing battle with heat, cold, precipitation, wind. And we almost never win.

    Anon – you have just made my point (see above)

    Andrea – We all have a little Gordo in us, don’t we? Who among us hasn’t “whoooooo’d”?

    UA – I’m becoming concerned with how often your blogposts and blog comments end with ” a nice glass of wine” Ha ha.

  6. Having had the wonderful pleasure of living in the desert for six months (UAE), I am totally sold on the idea of covering up to be cool. Long robes or gowns of cotton, as the native Emirates wear, are much more comfortable and cool in the extreme heat and humidity of the desert.
    I continue to wear such garments here, though to be sure the Gordo’s of this world look at me like I’m a couple of jalapeños short of a zippy salsa… nothing throws the rednecks faster than a white girl who looks like she may have gone “native”, so to speak. Or, like my mother-in-law asks, “Have I joined a cult?”
    It keeps ’em guessing.

  7. LOL this was great.
    it doesn’t just stop at the heat though!
    People see things completely different in all areas of life!

    Dang XUP, you are a very good writer!
    I can never wait to get to your material!


  8. I love this. I was aware of most of Taamir’s points although I wasn’t aware that darker clothing is cooler. Interesting and I’ll have to check that out.

    Cool breezes to you!

  9. And I’ll bet Taamir talked very calmly too, thereby reserving his energy for drinking his hot tea after a spicy curry supper by the pool. Flowing robes on a polite man = rather sexy, no?

  10. Susan – thanks for the native point of view. Women can go around in long, loose dresses in the summer and not look strange. It’s my favorite summer wear when it’s really, really hot.

    Hunter – Aw shucks, thanks. It makes me wonder when there are examples of better, more efficient ways of doing things available and we keep doing things the opposite way and moan and complain about how inefficient they are.

    Debra – It only works if the dark clothing is loose, though. If you’re wearing tighter fitting stuff, then light is best. Who knew you had to have a degree in physics to get dressed? Unless of course you’re a Taamir who just knows this stuff instinctively.

    Violetsky – Are you falling in love with this fictional character?