Swickard: The smoking hot days of summer

© 2017 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.   For some of our fellow residents here in New Mexico there has been surprise that the daytime temperatures have suddenly been in the triple digits. And it is real dry here, too.
            The answer is simple: New Mexico has been in a drought for 280 million years, come next August so it should not come as a surprise, but it does for many of our residents.
            Newcomers can be excused because they have not lived somewhere that the seatbelt buckle in their car can be used as a branding iron if it was in the sun. And coins left on the seat of the car will leave an impression if they are in the sun. People bump their heads on the inside car roof when the pain travels from posterior to head.
            But these last few days people have been talking incessantly about the triple digit heat in New Mexico and other states. Entertainer George Burns was asked, “George, how is your wife?” He answered, “Compared to what?” That’s the answer for the heat wave.
            Some say wryly, “It’s a dry heat.” New Mexico is less noteworthy than Phoenix where 120 degrees is their fate. And that temperature in Phoenix doesn’t warrant more than a passing notice by their news media. “We see here where a highway has melted, details at six.”
            What to do here in New Mexico when it is broiling hot? We can prepare a couple pans of cookies to bake on the dash of the car which has two values: you get cookies and it functions as a car air freshener.
            Obviously, we should stay in a cool place and not be out mowing the lawn. Well, I say obviously because some New Mexicans are out mowing the lawn in the heat and with the sweat pouring off of them they ask, “Hot enough for ya?”
            Mostly what I have noticed these last few days is the look of surprise that somehow it got this hot. It does pretty much every year but the last time was about one year ago. We need to do something about that short-term memory loss, eh?
            It is similar to when the New Mexico winds start in March which they do start every March around these parts. People look surprised that parts of Arizona are moving to Texas by air over around and through us. It does so every year.
            What to do? Enjoy the scenic New Mexico vistas, even if they are hot. And enjoy the taste of hot green chile. Not the garbage from New York City, but real New Mexico Green Chile that announced its presence with authority.
            Remember, we are a friendly people so don’t be troubled that we wave hello in our car. We’re just being friendly.
            Likewise, we are averse to anyone telling us how they did things back where they came from. Just suggest whatever without mentioning back home. Especially, don’t tell us how hot it is back home, you are here now.