Friday, July 19, 2013

It's hot and I wish I had ossicones (or at least a pool)

For my first post back at Walk With Nature, I was going to talk about the importance of pollinators. I've really grown to love our backyard friends, especially the little understood native bee species that help our gardens and fields look amazing and grow amazing food.

However, I became sidetracked last night about 5 sentences in and then today I was flat out too hot to do anything worthwhile on the internet. For someone who loves the outdoors and nature as much as I do, I was ready to curl into a ball in the freezer and curse the sun for the blazing hot madness that is the inside of my apartment. I believe the heat index hit around 105 today.

I know what you're saying. "But Erin! You went to college in central Florida! You've spent many summers in the Midwest! At least its not a drought like it was last year!". You, my protesting friend, are absolutely correct. That doesn't change the fact that when it gets really hot, it gets miserable.

Do you know what kangaroos do to cope with the extreme heat of the Australian Outback? Other than being primarily active at night, they spit on their forearms and rub that spit on their faces, then face the wind and as the spit evaporates, it cools them (much like sweat does, only without the gross part where it secretes from all over your body). They're already built for that heat, though - it can get to be 120 degrees in the Outback. At my job, we simulate the 'roo experience by having kids put "kangaroo spit" on their hands and hold them up to the breeze. Think it might smell like hand sanitizer? Well, now you know where hand sanitizer comes from.

We are not kangaroos. Nor are we camels. Camels have specialized blood cells that are more oval as opposed to our own circular ones. That means they can have adequate blood flow even when substantially dehydrated because their red blood cells are streamlined even when the vessel is constricted. We totally can't do that. I feel like I would do a lot better in the heat if I knew I had some leeway before, you know, death.

Sadly, we don't have ossicones like giraffes, either. You know, those little horn thingies on their heads that may help with thermoregulation (because they actually have blood flow through them). Too hot? Just pump that nonsense right out of your permanent doodle-boppers.

Ultimately, it's those privileged few who have the luxury of accessing a swimming pool that really stay cool during the blistering heat. You don't even have to swim; just stand there and enjoy the shade. One thing does bother me, though; do tigers wrinkle if left in the water too long? With a heat index of 105 degrees, it doesn't really matter. I don't think I'd EVER leave. Unless, of course, I was sharing my pool with a tiger. Then I'd feel as though I've overstayed my welcome. Better yet for our tigre amigo? He doesn't even have to get out to get himself a nice cold tasty drink.

No, sadly, I do not have any of these things at my disposal. Sweating is just the worst because it smells awful on top of being uncomfortable - really, ossicones were the way to go, I think. Which is why I'm sitting in a dark room, drinking frozen cucumber water (since we don't have an ice maker and I have used up the completely frozen ice in the ice tray) and lamenting what feels like an inevitable fiery-yet-humid death.

I know I'm being a bit melodramatic; hey, at least I'm not out on the trail, right?

I have absolutely no experience with heat when it comes to camping; somehow, all of my misadventures in the wilderness involving temperature are with cold weather (refer back to Grand Canyon camping 2012). I'll have to do some research into how to stay cool during a particularly warm night on the trail.

Andrew and I are going camping in Southern Missouri next month, and then a week after that some of my coworkers and I will be camping. It'll be a good way to find out how, exactly, one doesn't sweat to death over night. Since hiking the Appalachian Trail is still on our to-do list, I think this is the kind of knowledge that REALLY matters. Stay tuned for part 2 (coming after said camping adventures) where I discuss what I've learned.

Here'a picture of a totes relaxed kangaroo, just rubbing in the fact that he can tolerate the weather better than myself (who, from his point of view, probably looks like some poor human who has succumbed to some sort of sweaty zombie-ism). Stay cool, everyone!

1 comment :

  1. I definitely did not know that heat regulation fact about giraffes! Haha I'm definitely going to use that fact at work! Also, I adore your writing style :)