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Dog days of summer


July 27, 2016

Man, it’s been hot these days. I mean really hot, maybe even too hot to go swimming in the lake, if I had the time and it weren’t too crowded. Our air conditioning at home crapped out, as it will when you need it, and we were back to using fans. I remember as a kid my bedroom was on the third floor of our Brooklyn home. Mom would bring a bowl of ice in a metal pot and place it in front of my fan. Mentally I thought it was cooling me down, but the reality was, it was too hot for me to care.

Driving to catch the train I was stuck behind a tractor moving to another field to cut hay. I was thinking, “This poor guy is up at 5 a.m. to beat the heat.” Since my road to the train has only a few spots to pass without taking your life in your hands, I hung back, figuring what’s the rush? When I got the chance and the view was clear, I took my opportunity to pass him. I honked my horn and gave him a wave and he responded in kind. I thought to myself, “He is going to have a hot miserable day.”

As luck would have it the train was late in leaving the yard; never a good sign. As the train pulled in you could see the windows were wet with moisture on the first two cars. On the last three they were clear. What’s going on here? I boarded the train and Freddie the conductor says to me, “Tommy, life is about choices. Today’s choices brought to you from New Jersey Transit are great. You have a choice to look out the windows on the back three cars, but there is no air conditioning; or you can not see out the windows of the front two cars, but there is air conditioning.” I said, “I know where I’m going,” and as I headed to the front of the train, Freddie shouted out, “Just letting you know, those cars are cold.”

Upon entering the car I realized Freddie was understating the fact. The reality here was that you could see your breath it was so cold. They made an announcement to apologize for the conditions, saying that the mechanics were in Hoboken, so our trip was not going to be fun. As I shivered in the car I thought about the guy on the tractor. He may have had a better day of it.