Carless- Day Twenty Two -Sweat Equity




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The air conditioning system in Amy’s retired car had gone funky. Only so much musty moisture can pump through any system before it becomes rank itself, pushing out stinky arid air. I kept it turned on the highest setting from April to October anyway, because I was born without the gene that counteracts humidity’s most humbling influence. Amy can walk to the Metro without sweating through her socks. I cannot.

The busses are walk-in refrigerators, the Metro trains, moving coolers. The streets swarm here in the dog days with people chasing their own tails, trying to generate their own breezes.

My shirt stuck to my body as I slipped into the Metro car’s back row on my way across town to visit a friend. When I arrived nearly an hour later, she took one look at me and invited me to throw my soaking shirt into her dryer. I had an emergency tee in my knapsack, so I obliged.

The trip back had me waiting for the bus long enough to break another sweat, and Amy texted to say she would leave early, so, once downtown, I walked across the Mall to wait an hour or so in the steaming Smithsonian garden. I’d sweated through my jeans by the time she arrived.

We cabbed to supper, the first cabby taking us in a big circle before dropping us off, complaining that we didn’t know where we wanted to go because he’d assumed NW and we didn’t know if the address was SE or NE, though we should have known there wasn’t any H Street in SE, or he should have. “You don’t know where you want to go, I drop you off here,” he fumed! I’d seem him spooling up when I first pointed out that it looked like he was assuming NW, but we wanted to go to the Atlas District. Then, he started heading in the opposite direction of the Atlas District before abandoning us back into the swelter. The heat’ll do that. We found a cool, commodious cab instead.

The walk back to the Metro soaked my shirt and jeans, but a bus was waiting for us when we arrived in Takoma. Then, home to retire the wardrobe, shower off the latest sweat equity, drink a gallon of ice water, and lay reading under the ceiling fan. I’m earning my car freedom one drippy drizzle down my back at a time. I have no musty air conditioner to protect me from this harsh climate this year, so I hop from cool spot to colder spot and favor the shady side of every street in between.

©2012 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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