I get all ready. I shower, I dress, I do my hair. I put on SPF. I make myself toast and maybe some yogurt.
I have a vitamin.
I play with my cats for a few minutes. I bring my sleeping boyfriend some coffee in a purely symbolic gesture meant to convey my love. Though he'll never be up in time to drink it while it's still warm. Still, these are the things I do every morning.
Then I walk out the door. Into the unrelenting heat.
And within three blocks everything is ruined. All of my makeup. All of my SPF. My hair. My clothes.
I get to the train station.
I am completley disgusting.
People, some of them wearing sweaters (in 70 % humidity with a heat index of 115) look at me as though maybe they should call an ambulance or something.
Sweat is running down me like rain.
I want to ask, Why are all of you wearing sweaters?!
Why aren't any of you sweating?
But, of course, I never do.
I get on the refrigerator-level cold train and all of my sweat dries back onto my skin. Ten minutes all told. This is the first such drying of the day. We'll call it Phase One.
The relief of the train puts me nearly into a coma, but I wake just in time to catch my stop.
Again, I hike to my office building. It's only six blocks, but in this heat it means I will sweat all over again (though this time less profusely). Phase Two is different only because there is no deodorant left on my person to maintain things as before.
I get inside my office building. A blast of cold air that continues even via the elevator dries Phase Two before I'm at my desk. Not that I'm not damp and sticky. I am. Phases One and Two are making themselves known to me. I smell not homeless, but something akin to the modern day hippy (willingly dirty, the modern day hippy wants to smell bad).
So, even as I pretend that all of this is okay, and place it safely somewhere under an imaginary umbrella of hippy-leanings (that might be understood by the people I work with: might), I still quietly rue the fact that I ate garlic every single meal last week.
My plan (the whole time) is to finally get to the ladies room to do what I can at a public sink with pump-soap to clean my face and possibly my torso and reapply my deodorant. But when I walk into the office there is some emergency already in progress or the phone is ringing (and it's someone telling me that flights for five people are needed to somewhere in the next hour).
So, I never get to the ladies room.
Instead I work and when I look up it's a quarter to twelve and I have to run something down to some nearby office. Because messegering might be too slow.
And when I return, full-on Phase Three has been established. It too, dries, but this time there is a salt residue left on my skin. Sweat rings and deodorant marks on one's clothing is one thing; salt rings on my black chemise, quite another. This, I'm afraid, is the lowest. Much lower than lint. Possibly only a couple levels higher than smelling like whiskey.
It's the damned humanness of it all!
Why do I have to be so fricking human all of the time?
So, concerned by the salt (but only a little bit thirsty), I drink copious amounts of water. And, though I mean the entire time to bathe in the ladies room, I, again, never get there.
For that matter, I don't need to get there. You see, I no longer need to pee due to all the sweating (and I'm sure this isn't good).
And on and on it goes.
No. I smell terrible. Still, someone tells me that the guy who shreds all of our files in going to be at the office in an hour. Could I please move twenty boxes down from the shelf for him?
Yes. So Phase Four, though happening within the heat-neutral conditions of the office itself, doesn't change anything in this dynamic.
I leave work for the day. Phases Five and Six happen without fanfare.
I get home, turn on the shower, sit down on my bed for a minute to wait for the water pressure to finally build (stupid water pressure) and fall immediately into a deep sleep.
Hours later my boyfriend gets home, turns off the shower, and tucks me in with a kiss.
I sleep. Six phases of sweat stuck to my skin.