Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Word of the Day

Yesterday I learned a new word in French. Here's how...

Round about the beginning of June, these Public Service Announcements in the form of posters started popping up around the neighborhood. They show a young woman with her arm around a grandma-type lady and under them there is the phrase, "CANICULE?" in huge letters and then some other explanation that I have never bothered to read. I thought it must be something to do with corns or bunions (old people suffer from these, don't they?) and moved on in my walking progress, thinking no more about it. Boy, was I was wrong.

Yesterday while I sweated through my lunch in a cafe, my eye caught the headline of the local paper. It read "CANICULE!" and had a picture of a spot in Paris where people were obviously broiling in the sun. Hmmmm. It occurred to me that canicule has nothing to do with bunions, but everything to do with August and almost unbearable heat! That's it! Canicule means "heatwave," a meteorological phenomenon which we are currently experiencing here. Yesterday, the mercury hit 97˚. This is the hottest August since 2003, the year when so many elderly died in their apartments from heat exhaustion. I now know that the PSA with the granny on it is instructing the public to be aware of their elderly neighbors and to encourage them to open their windows and to go outside. This may seem obvious to some-- why would anyone stay shut-up in an apartment in such heat? But, some old people, especially those living by themselves, are too fearful to leave windows open, etc. The city wants to prevent another summer like 2003, hence the PSA. We don't have any elderly people in our building, so no necessary checking for me. But, just the same-- the heat is a bit shocking.

Luckily, it is supposed to cool off by 20+ degrees this weekend. I know I'm from Florida, but we have AIR-CONDITIONING there. Almost no one has it here, I think because it's really only necessary about two or three weeks out of the year, but still. I will thank God for small favors, however. So far, Jon and I have not been plagued by mosquitoes (knock on wood) and the humidity is only about 80%. Regardless, I'm ready for the canicule to end, and although I will probably regret this in the near future, I'm looking forward to fall and cooler weather.


  1. Glad you're surviving and are getting some relief soon. It's supposed to cool off here this weekend, too.

  2. This totally reminded me of this offensive billboard Peta has up at the beach right now. It has a rearview of an obese woman in a bikini (illustration) with the words "Save the Whales" and then under that "Lose the blubber. Go Vegetarian." It's causing a mild uproar -- was even in the JBJ. I'll have to send you the link. BTW loving the blogs lately, keep em coming! And, uh, I totally expect to be featured upon return from my visit ;-)