July 6, 2010


It being an unusual 100° in central New Jersey, I step outside the vigorously air-conditioned office to sample the heat.

The first thing I notice—other than that yes, it’s hot—is the quiet. The normally ubiquitous landscapers are absent from the corporate park, as are the construction workers who’ve occupied the adjacent parking lot in recent weeks. Presumably, they have either melted or avoided such. (The grass is dead, so I suppose the landscapers have less to do, but they always find some gas-powered device or another with which to buzz in the background of my workday—or in the foreground; last week, three guys with hedge trimmers blitzkrieged the shrubs at my window for all of five minutes.) Today, no drone at all.

Save for one dutiful cicada, all I hear is the hum of HVACs on the office rooftops. Even the rush of Route 1 a couple miles away is subdued.

The sky’s a solid, hazy blue with billowing white clouds.

The heat is a steady pressure, but the humidity is low, and the air moves just enough to remind you that it’s air. In the shade of a willow tree by the drainage basin, I draw the same judgment as just about every day: I’d be content at Disney World on a day like this. Today’s a day for Pirates of the Caribbean; not so much the uncooled queue of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

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