My friend Peg arrived today from Connecticut to spend the weekend with me. Having met through squaredancing, Peg and I used to see each other at squaredance events several times a year, back when I was still actively dancing. Now that I’ve largely given up the activity, and especially since I’ve been unable to attend convention the past two years, I only saw her once in 2001, once in 2002, and now once this year.

She took the train down, and I left work early to pick her up at Union Station at 2:30. We decided we would go to the Friday night contra dance at Glen Echo Park, so we had an early dinner of tapas in Shirlington, came back and changed clothes, and then headed out to Maryland for the dance.

Historically, the weekly contra dances (along with the weekly waltzes, swing and other dance evenings) were held in the Spanish Ballroom; as it is currently being renovated, however, the dances have been held for more than a year in the outdoor bumper car pavilion. The Ballroom is preferred, though it’s largely just an emotional preference as the Ballroom is neither air-conditioned or heated, which makes summer dances in the Ballroom miserably hot while winter dances start out painfully cold, though by the time you’ve danced a couple of sets you’ve warmed up enough to start stripping off layers of clothing.

Tonight was simultaneously fun and torturous. My body is particularly bad at regulating its temperature; my normal body temperature stays about two degrees below the norm of 98.6°F, and I tend to get overheated very quickly and easily, even when being very careful to keep myself hydrated. I very rarely sweat at all. Tonight, though, I became soaking wet and miserable, and was feeling almost dizzy and sick; I think the moisture was less my own sweat, though, then just condensation from the high humidity in the air as well as the couple hundred other bodies in the relatively small–albeit outside–space.

This really frustrates me. I love contra dancing, but I’m only able to do maybe every other or even every third set at summer dances because of the overheating; this same sensitivity to heat used to be very embarrassing on summer bicycle trips, when I would almost invariably be the first to end up retching from overexertion. I know I’m not in the best shape I could be, but I’m certain I’m in no worse shape than the majority of those who come to dance, a fair percentage of whom are half again my age and/or body weight, yet they seem to be able to dance set after set–and contra dances are long and very physically engaging–in the heat and humidity without being affected as badly. In airconditioning, I’m able to dance for hours on end without needing to stop; in college I won a dance marathon, and when I was most enthusiastic about squaredancing even as recently as five years ago would dance ten or more hours a day at convention, and then two-step and waltz for a couple more hours at night. Even now, though, two hours after coming home from the dance, and showering, I still feel flushed and overly warm.

Anyway, I’m not sure why this ended up being a diatribe against outside or uncooled indoor summer activities; I really intended just to write about how nice it is to have Peg here for the weekend, and to note that my posting may be light again this weekend while I’m entertaining a houseguest.

Tomorrow we’re going to look at MINI Coopers. Peg already thinks it’s an ugly car, though, and she’s the first of my friends to push the Prius over the MINI, the rest wanting me to get the “funky” car, so they can have a ride in it. I am starting to think that the Prius by far makes the most sense, though, and the 2004 model due out in October even looks a little sexier in addition to being technologically more advanced, even more fuel-efficient and with lower emissions than the current Prius model. Yes, I must confess that a part of me gets off on the “coolness” quotient of a car, though I’m probably more attracted in the end to quirkiness or cool technology rather than just another pretty face, which is why I was a Saturn and Saab owner; Saturns and Saabs, in their ways and in their time, defined quirky and unique. So maybe I’ll just try to be one of the first on my block to have the new, eminently quirky, techy and exceedingly green–if not altogether hip–2004 Toyota Prius. I just hope my Saab’s engine holds out until then.

5 thoughts on “contra-indicated

  1. Sorry, pal – I’ve been on the Alexandria Toyota waiting list for the new Prius for several months already. šŸ™‚
    I have decided to embrace my predilection for gadgets to the full, chomping at the bit for the latest cool car – with Bluetooth, no less. And I simply MUST be first or it loses it’s magic.
    Of course, I live about 20 blocks from you, so I guess you could still claim the “on my block” title…

  2. “Only” three years?
    I learned my lesson after years of used cars: I only buy new ones now, and sell them well before the warranty runs out.
    My three years of free service & oil changes are about up on the Prius, so it’s time for a new one. Plus, the new car smell has dissapated…

  3. I have a big crush on the mini. I wouldn’t speak to my husband for three days because he picked up Corolla instead of the mini. Gah.

  4. Wait for the Prius. Wait wait wait!
    I was all ready in March to buy a Mini. Then the war thing happened and I thought to myself, “how can I justify buying a new car that gets the same mileage as the car I am driving now?” Well, I couldn’t.
    I can now say that I made the right decision not even taking the fuel economy issue into account. This is the best car I have ever owned. It is the most fun I have ever had driving.
    Do yourself a favor and get on the list for the 2004.

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