Jul 31, 2008

Poetry Friday: Sweat

Face it, Mona, I can't use the 'nice' words for it. "Perspire." "Glow." *snort*

I'm from the Deep South, darlin'; we don't perspire down here, we sweat bullets. We sweat like pigs. We sweat like a five dollar port whore during Navy shore leave. Those lovely old images of pomaded plantation overseers in white linen suits and elegant moustaches? All smoke and mirrors designed by the tourism bureau to keep you from realising that heat prostration is the number two killer down here, second only to the "Hold my beer a second, I want to try something" death.

I don't know at what point in my life I went from the kid who could stay outside all day and never notice the heat to the adult who realises that if he hoes one more weed he's going to wake up in a nice cool hospital ward with a heat stroke, but I wish I'd noticed it. At least I could have mourned it a little bit, waved goodbye with a damp hankie or something. But no, it passed me so fast I was left standing there in the yard suddenly aware that my shirt was soaked and I really ought to be wearing a hat.

My weekends have always been laundry time, but summer makes those laundry days about one more load long. I'm an outside guy, even in the heat (well, okay, even in the early morning and late evening if I really gotta) and that means the certainty of sweating. I get up Saturday morning, put on a liberal dose of SPF 60, a white tee shirt and long shorts, plunk my straw hat (SPF 30) on my head and start up the lawn tractor. Four hours and one freshly-mown lawn later I'm inside and in the shower, and one pair of sopping wet clothes are in the hamper for later.

After lunch there's inevitably something that has to be done outside: sweeping the driveway, washing vehicles, mucking out the chickens, something. Max exposure is usually no greater than an hour, but at it's end I'm back in the shower and a second set of white tee/long shorts is in the hamper, dripping and probably smelling like chicken manure or McGuire's Miracle Wax.

If I'm being particularly smart I'll stay inside during the worst of early afternoon heat and only venture back out to do things like gardening or bush-hogging the field. Several hours later it's lather-rinse-repeat time. Back in the shower and one more set of sweaty clothes that have to be wrung out in the tub before being tossed in the hamper.

Sunday morning? If I'm lucky that means a balloon crewing opportunity, and a change of clothes when I get home around 10am. Last time out I had an afternoon flight in addition to the morning flight and did something I'd never done before--sweated a pair of jeans to the point that they looked like they'd been pulled from the dryer about half an hour too early. Was I upset? No.

There's something intrinsically rewarding about sweating. If I'm sweating, chances are good I'm working at something physical, something that requires very little brainpower but a lot of muscle, and when it's all done it's Something I've Accomplished. I may be red as a hooker's fingernails and hot as a two dollar pistol but by gum I've accomplished something, and the sweat soaking my hatband and making me look like a truly ugly entrant in a wet T-shirt contest is just fine by me.

Right now, though, I'm ready for a little Fall. I miss my leather jacket.


Maggie said...

Yeah I read all that. Really. But the only thing I remember is bush hogging. I love the sound of it. It's so gutteral and male sounding to me.

Joan of Argghh! said...

"Hooker's Fingernails" is a category?!!!

The stultifyin' heat does make a girl glisten.

Clowncar said...

It takes you 4 hours to mow your lawn? Yikes. Either you are very slow, or you have a very big lawn.

Like that great Groucho line - either your dead or my watch has stopped.

meno said...

Eh, at least you don't have a bunch of wet spandex strapped to your chest after sweating.

Or do you?

Stucco said...

Chicken mucker.

Schmoopie said...

Mmm...A man in a leather jacket. Now that is a sweet image!

Irrelephant said...

Maggie, it's hot, dirty work, tiring and wearing on the spine and the hands. Actually, pretty good fodder for a blog post. *g*

You never know, Joan! It's got such potential. As for glistening girls? Mmmmmmmmm.

Clowncar, large yard guilty. Front, two sides, one 'side yard but across the ditch,' a backyard, a back backyard, and then my uncle's yard next to me, which if I don't keep mowed causes people stop and ask me if the abandoned house and lot with the gorgeous oak trees is for sale. I bought a red Craftsman lawn tractor with a 54" deck a few years ago and it was the best investment I ever made.

Does wonders for the skin cancer... er... suntan, though.

Not that I'll admit to, meno. *wink*

Stucco, keep it up and I'll send you a dozen fresh eggs with chicken muck packing. *lol*

Schmoop, that's going to earn you a leather-clad post!

Mona Buonanotte said...

Can that Miracle Wax be applied to human skin? Just, er, wonderin'....

Irrelephant said...

Mona, when I use it on Black Betty (ram a lam) I always end up with a liberal amount on my hands, and honestly I think I'd skip it if I were you--it's awfully drying. *grin*

Vulgar Wizard said...

Amen, e pluribas unim, ecetera, ecetera, ecetera. Did I spell ANY of that right?