As I was driving around the beltway today in 5 o’clock traffic I noticed the temperature gauge in my fourteen year old car ticking higher and higher. It was miserably hot in DC today, somewhere between 95 – 100 degrees, and I feared the car might overheat, so I turned off the air conditioner and rolled down the windows. The muggy, sticky DC air sucked the last remnants of cool air out within seconds and I was left sweating in bumper to bumper traffic.
After a few minutes I couldn’t bear the heat any longer. When traffic paused I took off my left shoe, followed by my left sock. I felt a little bit better so when traffic stopped again I took off my right shoe and right sock. When I stopped again I rolled my pants up past my knees. I lifted my top to just below my bra line so my stomach could breath. My shirt was already drenched in sweat.
For a few minutes the temperature gauge continued to climb, but eventually it leveled off. I decided to continue the drive home with the windows down just to be safe. I couldn’t help but laugh at the situation. I gave up a 2000 Honda Civic for a 1994 Oldsmobile Regency Elite, because I needed a larger, more comfortable car after my surgery a few years back. As I sat in sweltering heat, drenched in sweat, I realized that although I was physically uncomfortable with the heat, I was quite comfortable in my Regency Elite.
I turned up the radio and sat half-dressed in rush hour traffic, smiling at the situation. Honestly, I would normally panic in a situation like this. I would stare at the gauge and fear the worst, but today, after I took off some clothes and settled down in my seat I actually relaxed. If the car was going to overheat, it was going to overheat. So instead of panicking I turned up the radio and took the slow drive home to Maryland. I made it all the way home without getting stranded.
Although I remained calm and happy today, I have no plans to drive my car to work again this summer. My husband and I will be swapping cars beginning tomorrow. He has a much shorter and less congested commute to work, and although I wasn’t stranded on the beltway today, I have no plans of tempting fate again. At least not for the rest of the summer.