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Surviving the Heat
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A journal entry by Debby ("Irish Eyes") reminded me of an incident years ago related to the heat and surviving in it. I have had a problem with dealing with severe temperatures ever since I was a child with measles and my temp soared to 106 and I nearly died. I survived (this is not a ghost-written entry), but my internal thermostat and heat-regulating mechanism were permanently damaged.

So there I was, driving a school bus (not air-conditioned) in triple-digit weather, to the Museum of Tolerance. My bus died on the freeway and the flow of air keeping us all alive--if not comfortable--died with it. I called an emergency on the 2-way radio and about 45 minutes later another bus showed up to take the children on to their destination.

I, however, by the rules of my employment, had to stay with the bus in the baking hot sun by the side of the freeway while the bus turned into a yellow oven on wheels. I had to stay with the vehicle until the tow truck arrived nearly 2 hours after the second bus had left. The only thing that saved me I am convinced is that the driver of the second bus, a complete stranger, saw my red flushed dry face and gave me his bottle of chilled water.

I'm convinced he saved my life. I sat in the shade, in the stepwell of the bus (the paving was so hot it toasted the soles of my feet right through my shoes) with the door open and sipped the water and waited for the tow truck, thinking evil and hateful thoughts toward internal infernal combustion engines that couldn't even make it through Sepulveda pass.

Since then, I carry water with me at all times. Again I thank the unknown driver who gave me water in the desert. May his camel never spit on him.

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