Remember the rock group Three Dog Night from the 1970s? ("Joy to the World," "Mama Told Me Not To Come," "Black and White," "Pieces of April" and "Shambala" were among its hits.) The band got its name from a tradition among aboriginal Australians who would sleep with a dingo on cold nights; two of the wolflike canines on colder nights; and three of the mutts on extremely bitter cold nights. So, a "three-dog night" is colder than a witch's (rhymes with wit).
Well, today I invented a new term to describe a hideously hot, muggy day: A three-dog day. A take-off on "dog days."
We Michiganders usually enjoy mild summers where the high is 78 or 80, and humidity is low. We'll get a few 90-degree days, but not nearly as many as we've had this summer. Sunday was miserable, today was, too, and the 90s are supposed to stick around through Wednesday. As someone who has been driving for months in a car with non-working air conditioning, I have to say I hate it. I really, really hate it.
Southerners who move up north (perhaps because of a job, or because a spouse is from a northern state) usually complain vociferously about the cold, snowy winters. Can't say that I blame 'em. That's their prerogative. Many Yankees, on the other hand, like moving down South and enjoying mild winters. The hot, muggy summers don't faze them.
I'm the opposite. Although the cloudiness and dreariness of Michigan winters, coupled with their excessive length, are tough to deal with, I don't really hate wintertime in Michigan as much as some people do. But when I lived in Atlanta from 1990-99, I really detested dripping in sweat on the endless oppressive summer days. The heat wilts me and makes me sluggish.
Perhaps I have a higher-than-normal body temperature, or my body doesn't dissipate heat well. All I know is, I never hated Michigan winters as much as I loathed Atlanta summers (the traffic in Atlanta also drove me insane, but that's another story). When my family moved to Michigan in 1999, I savored those summer days when I could mow the lawn or barbecue on the grill without being drenched in sweat. ("Hey, it's the middle of the afternoon, and I'm standing outside and enjoying it. I'm NOT drenched in sweat! Imagine that!")
So lately I've been miserable. Today was another scorcher, and to make matters worse, I decided to get my oil changed in a town I don't live in (Ann Arbor) where I stay two nights a week at my nephew's apartment to avoid making a long commute every day of the week. (I ride in a van pool from Ann Arbor to my office in downtown Detroit, so at least that part of the journey is air conditioned).
Anyhoo, I went to this place that I figured might charge about $27 for a full-service oil change (topping off all the fluids, checking tire air pressure, etc.) Bad mistake. Despite declining many extras they tried to sell me, I still got nicked for about $42. What really turned me off was the three-person assault -- attendants dashing here and there between my vehicle and the two in bays on either side of me. One guy was checking the taillights, brakes, headlights, blinkers, etc....Another guy was walking around with a clipboard and showing me options I had for synthetic motor oil and other exotic variations that would have jacked up the price another $15. The third guy was removing air filters and piddling around under the hood just dying to find something he could claim needed replacing.
The clipboard dude showed me two different oil filters (one cost $15 more than the other and supposedly had some extra sophisticated filtering system). The grease monkey under the hood tried to get me to buy a new air filter, which I declined, and he was ready to remove the cabin filter, but I told him to skip it. The clipboard guy also said I was low on coolant, and asked if I'd like them to top it off for $6. Can you say SCREW JOB?
Adding insult to injury, there was no air circulation in this garage, and I guess the heat of the vehicles must have made it seem even hotter. I was drowning in miserable sweat. When the air filter grease monkey asked if I'd like to replace the fuel filter, I mumbled something sarcastic about "I didn't plan on spending $100 in here tonight."
"Pardon me?" he asked. I couldn't hear you with that engine running (the car next to mine).
"Oh, nothing," I said.
It was a stinkin' hot, miserable finish to a tough Monday. Ah, but Monday is now behind me, and a three-day weekend, plus the beginning of college football season are only a few days away.
So I live and learn. I now know where NOT to go for an oil change.
I also know that every now and then it's fun to vent about something other than politics. The flaming liberals, Vacationer-in-Chief and dumb-as-dirt mainstream media hacks can wait another day.
Now, for a nice cold Gatorade...