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Too darned hot

Wednesday July 11. A heat wave is forecasted. I have the straddle shift, 12 noon to 8 pm.

“Be careful out there. If you feel at all dizzy come back in," says Randy. "Drink lots of water."

He gives me an aspirin.

"For headaches?" I ask.

"No, heart attack prevention," says Randy. 

Heat wave remedy
Heat is rising in waves from the pavement. I troll slowly by the Clipper Terminal which runs between downtown Seattle and Victoria. I am flagged down by an elderly man on a motorized scooter. He has tubes feeding oxygen into his nose. "Help my wife get to our hotel with the bags," he says.

His wife comes out of the Clipper terminal door. I am speechless. The luggage is an enormousis 4'x 3' block but the wife is even bigger -- must be at least 300 lbs. Oh my God, what if I can't move her in the cab? It is only two flat blocks, I rationalize. Just try.

I attach the bag to the rack on the back of the cab. The husband zips away in his scooter. I get to flat ground and give the wife the curb and my arm, acting confident. But she can't  get up into the  cab. I push, putting my shoulder into her bottom. "I told him I was too big," she grumbles. We try and try but she indeed is too big to get up into the cab, turn around and sit down. "I'm too darned fat for this silly thing. I told him that."

Instead I take the luggage and her carry-on two  blocks to the hotel. She walks behind me.

The husband  gives me $5 and says, "So, are you still in school?"  Granted, he has thick glasses and is on oxygen supplementation, but pegging me as a university student when I am almost 50 makes working this heatwave almost worth it.

By 3 pm the mercury has hit 36.3 degrees Celsuis at Victoria International Airport, officially making it the hottest day in Victoria's history.

It is brutal for pedicabbers. We are all flushed and sweating. It is heat stroke hot on the causeway. I hang out in the shade by the Clipper Terminal. I put up my canopy to provide rides with respite from the sun.  The only people interested are enormous, suffering so badly from the heat on account of their girth. Another woman wants a ride but is too big with knees too bad to lift her weight by stepping up into my cab.  Another enormous man, drenched in sweat, flags me down on Wharf St. "Where is a good seafood restaurant with air conditioning?" I take him two blocks to Nautical Nellies and get $10. My beloved, reliable #1 cab makes ominous rubbing noises after he alights.

It is 4:30 pm. I have consumed 3- 500 ml bottles of water and a Gatorade, haven't needed to pee all shift, and I am still thirsty. I am $4 short of making my lease but I can't bear the thought of any more hours exerting myself in this heat. It feels dangerous. I go back to the barn. A half dozen other pedicabbers have already packed it in. They sit drinking beer with their feet in a kiddie wading pool. I roll in over the lot. "Hey, smart move. Come join us."

I take a chair, remove my cycling shoes and my socks and stick my feet into the cold water. I can almost hear a cartoon sizzle. My core temperature immediately drops. Ahhhh. Some one cracks a beer and hands it to me. We compare fat people stories and bad tan lines. Two more riders come in the lot, quitting early.

Posted on Thursday, July 12, 2007 at 11:48AM by Registered CommenterAnne | CommentsPost a Comment

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