Summer heat makes people insane

Though summer just officially started, the heat of the past month would have me believe otherwise. Even if it’s not nearly as stifling as last year (though I’m sure we’re on our way to getting there), the heat has still done its duty by turning people insane. To illustrate this point, I’ll recall a story from a few weeks ago.

It was a Saturday morning around 10:30 or so, and it was already plenty warm outside. My buddy Tyler and I had decided the night before that it would be a good idea to go to the CRC the next morning and play some racquetball. Considering we live off campus and down North Avenue, we hopped in Tyler’s Jeep to make the short drive.

Along the way, we noticed a few people wandering through the middle of the street looking completely dazed and oblivious to the threat of moving cars.

Once we realized that we had not accidentally driven onto a George A. Romero set for some new zombie movie, we concluded that these people had lost it to some degree. Tyler and I began a semi-serious discussion on how the heat must be making people crazy, or at least driving the crazy people out of wherever they were hiding.

Fast-forward two hours later, and Tyler and I are back in the Jeep after a few rousing games of racquetball. We’re on 10th Street waiting at a red light, chatting about this or that, when suddenly we hear incoherent mumbling coming from behind us.

Tyler turns around to find a man – mid-30s, cargo shorts, T-shirt, backpack, bald except for an awkward crew cut – leaning on his Jeep and asking him something. After multiple attempts, we finally understand that this man is demanding for us to “take him to the station.” Tyler tells him no and inches the Jeep forward.

The man begins to walk back to the sidewalk, but not before informing us that we can “rot in hell.” Once back on the sidewalk, he again reminds us of our new task and points to us and then to the ground – an informative and appreciated gesture that cleared up any confusion about the location we needed to report to. The light turned green, and we drove away.

Wait, what? Rot in hell? The escalation of the situation was so severe and sudden that initially all we could do was laugh.

When the sequence of events is stopping at a light, being demanded of some task by a stranger, refusal of the task and finally the stranger’s command to rot in hell, it would normally seem that there are at least one or two events missing between the third and fourth events. Had we insulted or threatened the man, his response would have been understandable and justified, but as it stood, what he said was ridiculous.

I find it easy to blame the heat for these delightful moments of temporary insanity because I empathize with the effects that it has on people.

Summer in Georgia can be downright miserable, with temperatures well into the 90s and humidity that will likely drown you. It’s not exactly fun walking around outside and thinking you have a hot, wet blanket wrapped around you the whole time. Constantly being stuck in such a universal sauna is enough to make anyone a little bit irritable, so I can understand the man’s frustration.

Also, I don’t live in the most rational-thinking part of town anyways. The farther one seems to head down North Avenue, the less likely it is that people you meet will rely on mental power. It is not uncommon for me to regularly come across people who don’t seem to be playing with a full deck.

On the contrary, it can be difficult to get out of my parking lot without seeing someone who my parents would have likely told me to avoid when I was younger.

So I’m already used to witnessing loose screws in action, but as of late, they just seem to be far greater in number. The supply is greatly outnumbering the demand in this case, and the city seems to have somewhat of a surplus.

If the heat is in fact to blame, as I fear it may be to some degree (pun intended), it unfortunately will be getting much worse before it gets better. Come August, our sunburns might be the least of our worries; it seems as though our mental stability is at stake.