Challenge: Not Sweating to Death

You know when it’s summer and you have that one friend who steps one foot outside and feels a burning need to announce to the world that it’s hot? Like everybody didn’t already know that? And then that person feels compelled to say how hot it is every 10 to 15 seconds, as if they might have a bad case of Tourette’s? Yeah, I’m totally that person.

I’m very popular at picnics during the summer.

Heat and I don’t get along. I despise humidity even more. My hair becomes a giant frizzball, I get dehydrated easily, and somehow my face gets pale and red at the same time. It’s a talent, really.  That’s why I decided to move to a tropical climate! Because I’m smart like that!

Tropical climates are good for lots of things. Like fruit:

The hairy things on the left are rambutans, in the middle is dragon fruit, and on the right is longans.

And veggies:

Yum, veggies!

And plants:

Not the best photo, but that's my orchid. I bought it for $3.

But being in the tropics does have its challenges, namely: Not Sweating to Death. It’s hot here, guys.  Google tells me the average temperature during September in Bangkok is 89.6, but I think whoever averaged those temperatures was on crack. Okay, fine, I’m willing to concede that it might be 89.6 (doubtful–I’m watching you, temperature guy), but it’s also 312% relative humidity. I mean, that’s a rough estimate, but I’m pretty good with weather stuff, so you can trust me.

The sun normally feels like this to me:

Burning death! The sun is shining directly on my head at all times, even when I'm inside or in the shade. Yes, the sun gives us all life, but sometimes I just wish it would go away for awhile.

I sweat a lot.  The sweat–this is the absolute worst feeling–runs down my body when I walk. Sometimes I sweat when I’m just sitting in my apartment, doing nothing. I am honestly not exaggerating when I say I sweat through my clothes every day. I can practically ring them out. I get smelly (now, gentlemen, don’t all of you ask me out at once, okay?). I take many, many showers. I thought I’d packed too much underwear when I came over, but I was wrong because you can never have too much underwear in the tropics because you are taking 12 showers a day.

I see Thai people walking around not sweating at all. This seems like a minor miracle to me. On some days it seems like a major miracle, the kind that can only be performed by a major deity. Sometimes I see men wearing long, heavy pants, long sleeve shirts, jackets, hats, and face masks. Meanwhile, in order to beat the challenge of Not Sweating to Death, I walk around in as little clothing as I can while still remaining decent.  Calm down, people–that means tank tops and shorts, mainly. I’m not walking around in a bathing suit–although I’d like to. Yes, I get stared at sometimes because I’m showing a fair amount of shoulder, but I’d rather get stared at for wearing a tank top than stared at because I’ve passed out from heat exhaustion.

I’m silly like that.

We’re in the rainy season right now. Cold season should be coming up soon. However, I’m reading a book called Letters to Thailand, by Botan, and this quote just says it all:

Its [the sun] rays were like fiery tongues licking at my arms. Father says this is the rainy season, and Thai farmers will work in the fields planting rice every day. They also have a hot season and what is called a cold season, which Father says will seem to me only a little less hot than the hot season.

So that’s something to look forward to!

Anyway, sometimes I kick ass in the challenge of Not Sweating to Death. Like this day:

See? I don't even look like I'm sweating! It's a miracle! No Photoshopping or anything, I swear. This was the middle of the day, so I should have by all rights been disgusting.

Sometimes I don’t do so well with the challenge:

UUUUUUGGGGGHHHHH. This day made me want to weep. I was wearing a tank top, so I had to cover up with a scarf because we were at a wat (temple). It was like being smothered. And not by my mother's love, either. By a really hot thing that made me feel even hotter.

Sometimes I feel really confident, especially in the early morning when I’m setting off for school at around 7:00 (fine, 7:15, okay?) (FINE, 7:25 yesterday. Are you happy now?). There’s usually a slightly cool breeze and I haven’t sweat at all since I woke up. Sometimes I feel so confident that I wear pants and walk at a normal pace to the train station, instead of walking at a snail’s pace to save my energy.

This is always a mistake. By the time I get to the train station, I’m cursing myself for thinking I was getting used to the humidity, the sweat is beading on my lip and rolling down my back, and I’m thinking longingly of my skirts and shorts. When I get on the train I can barely hold in my gasp of pure pleasure when the cold air hits my face. I can see Thai people looking at me with sympathy, and I don’t even care, because I’m looking at my own damn self with sympathy and trying to sop up my sweat with a wet wipe (doesn’t work, by the way).

This is a situation when it's perfectly acceptable to sweat. As a matter of fact, if you didn't, you might look ridiculous.

Okay, let’s get down to it. What’s my success been with this challenge? Well, obviously I’m still alive, at least for the time being, so I’m WINNING THIS CHALLENGE. So far. I’m not getting too cocky about this, though, because the tropics have definitely smacked me down the other times I’ve been cocky about something. Okay, I’m downgrading to more of a tentative win at this point. Or maybe a tie. I don’t want to push my luck. Sometimes I feel like I want to die from sweating.

Final Score

Bangkok: 1   Megan: 1

Okay, Bangkok, we tied this round. I’ll give you a serious smackdown next time…

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4 Comments

Filed under Daily Challenge

4 responses to “Challenge: Not Sweating to Death

  1. jess

    A few weeks ago, we took Monkey on a hike up a tiny mountain. It was almost 90 degrees out and hot – no humidity, but that steady, tapping you on the shoulder, constant kind of heat – and he kept trying to walk through our legs to get some sort of shade and looking at us like, ARE WE THERE YET?! because he walks around in a fur coat and his was tongue was so far out of his mouth, I could see his tonsils without trying hard. It was the only time I feel like I’ve understood his pain: we had to stop several times because I’m so wussy about the heat. I blame being Polish, as there are few Polish traits that involve a) heroism and b) heat adaptation. So I guess the reason why I write this is to tell you that Bangkok would be the clear smackdown-er if I were trying to do what you’re doing. So, please give yourself an extra point for doing what most of us could never do. And Monkey sends you a fist pump, sister.

    • Seriously, my first week here I thought I was going to lose it…I feel *your* pain, too. And as I am from an Eastern European background, as well–yes, it’s true, our people are not so great with the heat adaption!

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