Harley Hay

Harley Hay: Bring out the garden hoses

Another week of extreme heat warnings. Sweltering, muggy, skin-burning, sweat-sucking, thermometer-exploding temperatures in desert-like digits. A lot of people these days seem to feel that the world is going to hell in a handbasket, but I don’t think they meant it quite this literally.

Did Richard Branson’s little jaunt into “space” somehow cause Earth’s orbit to slip a couple of centimeters closer to the sun this summer? Is Elon Musk stuffing our atmosphere with too many shiny communication satellites? Has Bill Gates’ massive mounds of money caused global warming?

These are interesting questions of the type posed by the same people who voted a certain way in the last U.S. election and happen to have a decidedly odd opinion of vaccinations; however, I won’t mention that on account of this little column steadfastly avoids any political commentary. All I know is, like the song says in the musical theatre show Kiss Me Kate that we did with Central Alberta Theatre many many moons ago, it’s Too Darn Hot!

I mean, it was so hot in our kitchen the other day the butter in the butter dish on the counter melted into a sad puddle, and we didn’t even have any popcorn around at the time. Hot enough for ya?

But I can sure remember some scorching days when I was a rabble-rousing outdoor-loving kid in Parkvale, and I don’t remember minding them that much except whenever I got a wicked sunburn because back in the day the “suntan lotion” we put on was basically cooking oil, positively guaranteed to deep fry your lily-white skin. Sunscreen? What sunscreen?

But then again, when you’re a kid, a blistering hot day is just a great excuse to dig out the garden hose and get well and truly soaked.

One of my favorite bands, the Bare Naked Ladies, even have a song about this popular universal heatwave remedy. It’s called Pinch Me and it goes like this:

It’s the perfect time of day

To throw all your cares away

Put the sprinkler on the lawn

And run through with my gym shorts on

Take a drink right from the hose

Then change into some drier clothes

Climb the stairs up to my room

Sleep away the afternoon

Now doesn’t that sound better than huddling in the imaginarily “cooler” basement in an old t-shirt and shorts in front of an electric fan that only succeeds in gathering a large quantity of hot air from another part of the room and blowing it in your face?

When it’s hot like it has been, our neighbour (who I shall call “Wayne” because that’s his name) often “accidentally” nails us with a blast from his garden hose through our chain link fence. He pretends he’s innocently watering his flowers, but it’s quite surprising how accurate his accidental H2O attacks are, and how soaked a person can get from a well placed gush from a finely tuned hose nozzle.

So of course we try to get him back whenever the moment presents itself. In fact, the other day, the Better Half noticed Wayne relaxing obliviously in his lawn chair. Coincidentally, she had the hose in her hand at the time, so she snuck over to the fence, took careful aim and squeezed the nozzle, full blast.

Whoosh! She missed Wayne by a country mile. However, she did score a direct hit on a complete stranger, drenching a friend of Wayne’s who happened to be visiting, sitting unseen on the other side of him.

But it’s OK. It was really really hot out. She was doing him a favour.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker. Send him a column idea at harleyhay1@hotmail.com.