Friday, July 31, 2009

Hot Timez in the City

You know those girls who're always like, "Ooh, it's freezing in here!"? (See left: Keira Knightley, a master of the art of appearing chilled.) Then, their teeth chatter delicately as they display goose bumps and pull cashmere wraps around their non-insulated shoulders in 82-degree environs? Well, that's not me. All my life (well, at least since I was 13), I have been known in certain circles (i.e., the circles frequented by all people with whom I've ever associated) as a particularly hot-natured person. When it's -5 degrees with a windchill of -20, then yes, I'll shiver with the best of them. But otherwise, I may be observed frantically ponytailing my hair off my neck, disappearing to run cold water over my pulse points and fanning myself with any card, envelope, folder or notebook to be found in the depths of my handbag.

I'm relieved to live in the age of air conditioning, and on occasions when this invention fails, I become something between melty and incensed. The backs of Chicago cabs are a true-life nightmare, ventilated as they are by makeshift accordion hoses squeezed through crudely sliced holes in the bulletproof partitions that separate passenger from driver. I do plan to bring this public discomfort issue to Mayor Daley's attention the next time I encounter him in a social situation, but meanwhile, I rely on fainting motions and heavy sighs to convey my angst to cab drivers. Recently, this method led to an inappropriate line of questioning:

Me: Siiiiiiggggghhhh. Fan, fan, fan. Fiddle with window control. Inspect makeup meltage in compact mirror. Siiiiiggggghhhh. Moan lightly as if delirious with fever.
Driver: "You OK, miss?"
Me: "It's just sooo hot back here. Is your air conditioning broken?" [A frequent inquiry; see post dated 7/22/08]
Driver: "No, it's on. Can you feel it coming out?"
Me: "I feel nothing but heat. I'm dying."
Driver: "Yes, eet is very hot."
Me: "I'm sweating."
Driver (arching eyebrow in rearview mirror): "Sweating, you say?"
Me: "Yes, I'm always sweating in this heat."
Driver: "Where you sweat, miss?"
Me: "All over."
Driver (knowingly): "Ah, I see. All over."

P.S. More glamorously, last week, in a temperature-controlled setting (the penthouse of the Park Hyatt on Michigan Avenue), I received a haircut (retail value: $1,400) at the hands of celebrity stylist and John Lennon-slash-Jesus lookalike John Nollet. Two semesters of college French have all but escaped me; still, I did manage to translate a thing or two whispered by Nollet as he tornadoed about my head, snipping passionately. Les cheveux magnifique!, he breathed. And this from the man who coiffs Johnny Depp's pirate 'do! Nollet's young assistant was visiting the U.S. for the first time (I was pleased to advise him on a Chicago sightseeing itinerary for the rest of his stay), and he may have found the situation slightly less enthralling. "So many hairs," he muttered ruefully amid the masque-ing, shampooing, scalp-oiling, conditioning, and endless blow-drying of my locks. "So many longs hairs."

But they did shape up nice, those hairs (see partial evidence above). Afterwards, for lunch, I had a celebratory quiche.

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