Day 245

When I started my daily walk in October, winter was on its way.  Think of the snow, the ice, the wind, the cold, a few friends said, shuddering as if it were lions and tigers and bears I’d be facing for an hour each day.

It turned out to be a rather snowy 2009-2010 season, and at first I thought my friends might’ve been right. But I bought an extra layer of insulation, brushed off my ice skates and cross country skis, and enjoyed almost every day of winter walking.

Snow? Ice? Nor’easter? No problem.

But this HEAT! And I don’t just mean heat, I mean this HUMID HEAT.  I’ve never had central air conditioning and feel that I’m pretty adaptable to most climate changes. I’ll even confess to feeling occasionally smug on summer days past when friends groaned and whined about the heat and the humidity. A window fan, a chair in the shade, and maybe an ice cold drink is all I needed. Or so I thought.

Who knew the heat would come thick and early this year as I reached the age when even looking at a hot drink makes me break out in a sweat?

Frank and I were at a lovely dinner party on Saturday evening. The food and wine were excellent, and the conversation was lively. But the humidity was thick enough to cut with a steak knife.

“I see you’re a ________, like me,” a fellow diner said, pointing in my direction.

“Excuse me?” I asked. I thought he was  asking me to pass the seltzer.

“Is there seltzer?” My eyes darted around, hopeful.

“A _____,” Bob said again.

I leaned over to my husband “Is he calling me a shikza?” I asked.

Bob was the president of a local synagogue for several years. I don’t know him well, but he seems like a nice, open-minded guy.

“A shvitzer,” Bob said again, wiping his hand across his shiny temple. “You know, a perspirer, a sweater, a shvitzer.”

Actually, I wish he had been calling be a shiksa. At least then I would’ve been able to tell him he was wrong (after all, my great grandmother was a Hungarian Jew!).

“I’m not a shvitzer!” I said with as much dignitiy as I could muster. “I’m a walker, I walk every day. It really opens your pores, you know!”

“Yes,” Bob said, handing me a napkin so I could wipe my own shiny forehead. “I see that.”

As I dabbed my temples and fanned myself with the folded (damp) napkin, I asked myself yet, again, what ever possessed me to take on this year-long walk.

But I already knew the answer: because I wanted to challenge myself. Because I wanted to see what would happen. Because I wanted to have a lot of little adventures closer to home, where I hoped I’d discover new things about myself and about the world and the people in it.

This week I discovered two things

1) I actually hate summer’s humid  heat more than I hate the January’s cold(I would’ve thought it was the reverse).

2) I am a shvitzer.