Sunday, August 14, 2011

Beating the Heat (New article for Spare Change News)

Note: Below is my latest article being published for Spare Change News in Boston

Beating the Heat

Gary aka John Doe

The one thing we all have in common, regardless of our social status, is our vulnerability to the elements. However obviously, that’s only when we’re out there exposed. If you have a home, and air conditioning, then you only have to manage for so long before you are comfortable again, and impervious to your climate.

However when you’re homeless, or low income, and don’t have  air conditioning at home, or a comfortable office to go to during the day, beating the heat becomes a very important, at times critical, part of your routine.
So how does one go about cooling down on limited to no budget?

Well first let me explain that the names, locations, and details have been withheld for my own safety! You wouldn’t think that writing an article of this nature would be a scandalous affair, but these guys are afraid I’m going to say too much and ruin their favorite spots. So word is on the street already, and once this is in print, I need to watch my back J

 Obviously some of the tactics are the same as my “Boston on $3 a Day” article. Things like the refillable $1 fountain drinks, especially their Sweet Tea, is a key factor in beating the heat.
I personally go there, chug down a large iced tea, sit in the AC for a while, while recharging phone and enjoying wifi. I then use the facilities, have a refill, and then refill one more time and leave, then taking that last cup and pouring it into my water bottle and keeping in my back pack for later in the day.

Other guys, go to certain movie theatres that offer early admission discounts, and then go from theatre to theatre and see as many movies as they can, just to stay in the AC.

Of course the larger book stores that offer comfy chairs to peruse the books is a great place to be, seeing as you just relax and keep cool while reading a book.

The biggest obstacle in this scenario being struggling to stay awake while engulfed in this lap of luxury.

An unlimited T pass is also a must have in the summer time, because the fact is on any given day in this blazing heat, I have no problem jumping on any non crowded bus, going in any direction, and just going along for the ride to enjoy a seat and cool air. The upside of this being that in my 3 months homeless I have virtually become a qualified tour guide of Boston.

Part of the intimate knowledge of the area that comes with homelessness, is knowing where all the spots are to lay in the shade, or where to get a cold refill on your water bottle, and where to sit.

Another trick I often do, is to go to a train station, look at the board and pretend to be waiting for one of the later arriving trains.

 And my personal best, and most guarded secret that I’m going to share, is my “membership” to a local club, obtained through a friend who manages the pool, where I go to swim all the time. It’s usually me, and several delightful elderly ladies, sharing an Olympic size pool. They usually remain in the shallow end, while I have the entire deep end to myself. From there my body’s core temperature is down, and I’m ready for a shady spot under a tree, for the remainder of the day before I head back to the shelter.

Sadly, inside the shelter all bets are off. There are no secret spots, or refillable ice cold beverages, or air conditioning to found. There are no tricks, you are simply at the mercy of the hot stagnant air in the overcrowded environment. At that point nyou just try to sleep, and get ready for another day of trying to beat the heat.

Stay cool, my friends,

Gary aka John Doe

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I've done the movie theatre trick a few times. I love films and cool air! :D