No, we don't have air conditioning. We don't need it, most of the time. But each year in June, we do get a heat wave that makes everyone in the house lie on the floor and complain about the heat. In this humid climate, any temperature above 90 degrees can make the creatures in this house miserable. We have lots of windows, but we've never gotten around to buying blinds, insulated or otherwise, because we don't need them for privacy in this rural area, and because we mostly suck at buying stuff like that. So on a hot day, the sun that feels so great in the winter months makes the temperature inside the house considerably higher than the temperature outside. Which is not a good thing.
Yesterday Boy in Black said nostalgically, "Remember when we were little and you'd fill up a wading pool?" He gestured to the linoleum-covered area where our kitchen table stands, halfway between the living area and the kitchen area. "For the summer, let's move the table out and put a pool there." He's over six feet tall, so the thought of him folding himself into a plastic kiddie pool of cold water made me laugh, although he was completely serious.
The heat and humidity has not prevented the young people of the household from playing Ultimate Frisbee. Not at all. It may be too hot to do chores ("You really expect me to clean the kitchen in this heat?"), it may be too hot to go to bed at a decent hour ("What? I can't go upstairs into that sauna!"), and it may be too hot to cut the lawn ("I might pass out!"), but it's never too hot or humid to play Ultimate.
Sunday night, I got an urgent phone call from Boy in Black, who was out in the field nearby that the kids use for Ultimate: they had an odd number of players and needed me to play. Yes, when the teenagers are desperate, they ask the 47-year-old Mom to play. I figured that since they'd already been playing for a couple of hours, they'd be tired, and I could keep up. I was wrong about that.
Playing Ultimate on a hot, humid day with a bunch of fit teenagers and college students is not much of an ego booster. The game goes like this: everyone runs frantically up the field. Then everyone turns and runs frantically down the field. Then they all turn and run back up the field at top speed. Every once in a while, someone throws the disc and someone else catches it. It's an incredibly exhausting sport.
Only my competitive spirit kept me from just throwing myself on the ground. Well, that and the mosquitoes that kept attacking anyone who wasn't moving. And Boy in Black doesn't let anyone quit. "We have to play until dark! No breaks! We don't have much daylight left!" But to his credit, he and the kids yelled things like, "Nice bid!" if I even made any attempt to get near the disc. And they never once complained about the fact that the person I was supposed to be guarding was wide open about half the time. They always treat me like a serious player even though I'm about a foot shorter and thirty years older than most everyone else.
The air was so thick that I could feel my legs moving through it. Skater Boy's cotton t-shirt was so drenched in sweat than when I touched his shoulder, my hand got wet. Older Neighbor took his bandana and wrung the sweat out of it. My daughter's face was flushed with red from the heat. The kids always bring water bottles and a huge thermos of water, but that night, we actually drank it all.
Despite the sweat running down my face and neck, it was fun to be out in the field, listening to the kids joke with each other and analyze the game as they played it. When darkness finally, thankfully, arrived, I rushed into the house first so that I could strip off my wet clothes and step into the shower. I had to admit that Boy in Black had the right idea: hard exercise in the heat totally eliminated the sluggish feeling I'd had all day. When I was dressed in a clean t-shirt, I came back into the living room where the other players were stretching out.
"You ought to stretch with us," Boy in Black said. "You didn't play as long as we did, but you're old." Yes, he does know how to give a compliment.
So I did the stretching exercises and listened to their talk of the game. Shaggy Hair Boy kept explaining how the heat and humidity is actually good for playing Ultimate: your muscles stay loose and you're less likely to get an injury. It made sense, what he was saying, but still, when a thunderstorm came roaring through this afternoon, bringing a rush of cool air with it, I didn't hear any complaints from the Ultimate players.