Greetings from God’s Hairdryer

Greetings from God’s Hairdryer!

It was hot today.

(How hot was it?)

Thank you, lovely assistant!

Gather around kids, and let me tell you a true* story. I noticed it was a little warm in the tent today and went out to check the ECU setting. As I wander through the now-convoluted path out my door, through HR’s door, into HR, out their other door, down the “hall” to the next tent, I wonder if it isn’t a particular person – an AC non-believer! – who has adjusted it to meet her ideas. For some reason, it appears that quite possibly all Hungarians hate AC. At least we’re 4 for 4 here, and it that doesn’t indicate something you can pin on an entire country, I don’t know what does!

There I am, saying hi to Mr. Project Controls as if I lead a normal kind of life. Our ECU is about 10 feet from my office, but I have to go at least 8 times that distance to get to it. I open the wooden side door, and a wave of heat blasts me. GAH! What the hell is this? It feels like a record heat day. As I stumble out into this furnace, I am ever so disappointed to find that the ECU is set to maximum cooling. I refer to this particular setting as “Freeze Yer Fucking Balls Off.” Typically you just don’t need to go there. I like my AC, so if I am telling you that can be excessive, you may rest assured of my correctness.

After verifying this fact, I realize I have several things to do on the far side of camp. I pre-emptively drink a few gallons of water, knowing I will only lose them on the way. There’s something about mid-afternoon as a time where you simply have to get up and wander around (if you haven’t done so already) even though it is the absolute worst time temperature-wise. But I never said I wasn’t stupid sometimes. It’s actually a daily thing, just let’s keep that between you and me. Wink

So as I am walking down the Flightline road, I am battered by the 131 degree heat. It’s too hot to breathe. I do it anyway, since there’s no use in dying from something silly like that. The feeling is like having a super-hot oven opened near you. The heat just rolls in. Aided by the constant 30 mph wind, it fairly well beats you down. I keep looking around trying to find whatever superheated engine is exhausting directly in my face. It seems like it can’t actually be this hot, there must be something close by venting the heat. Standing in the middle of the road all alone, I can only assume this heating engine is invisible.

I keep walking down the burning hot cement. I imagine that I smell something burning, but can’t place it. The smell becomes stronger and more definite now. I’m sure something is burning, but with the wind it’s hard to pin down where. I walk past the PortaJohns with their delightful smell of cooking human waste, but that’s not it. That’s a very different smell. You will never mistake the two.

I notice some odd dust kicking up around me. Actually it looks like smoke. The heat is pretty unbearable. I then realize it is, in fact, smoke. It’s coming from my arm.

Vaguely disturbed by this, I pat down my arm a bit. I must look like someone who walked into a spider web, because I feel something on me, and see something, but can’t pin it down. I spin around, looking for someone playing a joke. I stare dumbly at my smoking arm. I being to pat it down in a rather more spastic fashion as concern begins to nag at me. This just isn’t right. This only happens in vampire movies. Now I may be pasty as they get, but I’m not a vampire. Although I do like to bite chicks on the neck, for what that’s worth.

There’s a flash of ignition. No, not recognition, the other gnition. Somebody just struck a match on my arm! That’s pretty damn uncomfortable, if you don’t mind me saying. I try to slap the flame out but it isn’t working. Another flash! I’m heading for a bad day here kinds, I don’t mind telling you that. Soon little flares are sprouting all over my arm, which I’m waving around like a stunt man, only I’m sorta missing the flame retardant suit, that jelly goop that keeps you from melting, and the friendly fire extinguisher kids who put you out when the shot’s done. I think it’s about time to panic. Yep, panic.

OH MY GOD! I AM ON FIRE! SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION IS REAL!!!!

Well apparently I haven’t been drinking enough water as I combust like hot dry kindling. I really feel stupid wandering around totally engulfed in flame. Everyone is trying to get the hell away from me before I catch them on fire, too. All kinds of armed people wandering around, and no one will even shoot me. Thanks, assholes…I really appreciate the care, concern, and generally blank looks from those of you who could put me out of my misery.

If I am going to die like this, I am taking something with me. I look about madly for fuel trucks but don’t see any. I’m not sure if I can make it to the end of the Flightline. It should be spectacular, but I realize it’s going to be more one of those sad, whimpery things instead as my legs don’t seem to function so well anymore after having most of the flesh melted off. It’s really difficult to keep putting one in front of the other now.

This sucks. I feel like giving up. I don’t even get to explode anything. I relax as only one burning at the stake – minus stake – can. Some jackass runs up with a stick and some marshmallows. I lash out at him as best I can but he easily avoids me, and now I can only lay on the ground and be pissed off. That bastard doesn’t even share any of the marshmallows with me.

Just when I am contemplating the end, and thinking about all the things I wish I had done (especially setting fire to Marshmallow Guy) something changes. The wind suddenly shifts, and dust fills the air. It’s really dust this time. The sudden gust / dust devil surrounds me and puts the flames out. Mercy!

No, of course not. It’s not like the damn movies you know. The dust chips away at my charred flesh. I can feel small pieces breaking off, and being blown away down the street. It is with some satisfaction that Marshmallow Guy’s bag of treats has gotten away from him and blown down the street. The one on the stick flies out of his hands. HA! Take that! I feel my burntness being scoured away by gale force winds, laden with tons of desert from the next town over. I wonder how much longer it will take before I am dead, and then there is blackness….

I wake up surrounded by caring faces. I am disappointed not to be dead. I don’t really look forward to long painful recovery periods. It will take time before I can run, jump, or even see clearly. I’m not sure how I will ever be able to repay the treatment costs. Maybe I’ll go work as a secret agent for the government or something.

But at least I’m bionic now.

*well, some of it’s true

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