Hey, I’m back here.
August 6th, 2015
Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn’t it a pity
Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city
All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head
“Summer In The City,” The Lovin’ Spoonful
As published in The Memphis Daily News, August 7, 2015, and in The Memphis News, August 8-14, 2015
HOT? GET IN LINE.
I have three absolute favorite expressions for hot – everyone who lives in the grits belt needs at least one.
My third favorite is Halle Berry hot – substitute your mercury raiser.
My second favorite comes from Neil Simon and the play Biloxi Blues when the character Jerome steps off the train from New York in Biloxi and declares it to be Tarzan hot.
My favorite comes from Frank Elmer Conaway, first heard when I was about five. When I went in the house and told my mother “it was hot enough to melt the balls off an iron dog,” she sent me to my room. Quoting my father wasn’t necessarily a good thing around my mother.
July neutered every iron dog in the city and the dog days of August are just beginning, so it seems a good time to talk about waiting in lines, just about any kind of line, a subject that really heats me up. We don’t have enough time, space or Freon to deal with all the subjects that heat me up.
I made notes for this column in a grocery line, and almost finished it although there was only one person ahead of me. Why does it come as a complete surprise to so many that payment will be required at the end of the process, and why is it that the form of payment is so often buried at the very bottom of a steamer trunk where, by the way, forgotten coupons are also discovered in the excavation requiring the whole process to begin again?
I edited the column in the bank drive-thru – where the one car in front of me was evidently buying a house...in Tangier...judging from the pile of paperwork passing through the window – and then I rewrote the whole thing waiting for coffee, iced coffee, in another drive-thru – where the pair of Oakleys in front of me sent his very venti double something skinny with whip back for another beating of some kind.
If what you require is a project, people, go inside.
Then I put the finishing touches on the column on the way home when I pulled into the post office to drop something in the mailbox, and had to back up. The thoroughly school-stickered SUV bumper in front of me was headed my way in reverse trying to line up the driver’s window with the box, evidently missing it on the first attempt, and then had to open the door because the box remained elusive, and then gathered and sorted mail to go in the box as if the original purpose of the exercise was just remembered.
Forever isn’t just the name of the stamps, it’s the post office experience tag line.
So you tell me. When we’re ahead, have we become so self-absorbed that we have absolutely no concern for the effect of our actions on those behind, or should I just lean into the AC vent and chill?
I’m a Memphian, and I’m hot.
If you don’t read it, I’ll read it to you.The book is available in print online and all over town and now in audio online at Amazon, Audible and iTunes, read by the author – columns, comments and character references for a city filled with it and often absolutely full of it. Take a look or a listen.