It can get hot in Cairo. Sometimes it’s dry airless heat, and if there does happen to be a breeze, it stings the face like it’s carrying fire sparks with it. And sometimes it’s so humid you have to swim through air that feels like the inside of someone’s musty armpit. Usually when the weather is like this, it doesn’t matter what the hell you’re wearing, because this kind of heat is an equalizer. Everyone under the bare, glaring sun is fucked. You could be wearing a full burka or a tank top. It really doesn’t matter, it’s all the same. Fucked.
I tend to be on the verge of death when it’s this hot. I have a paranoid fear of becoming thirsty, and so I drink incessantly from warm bottles of water that were frosty with condensation just ten minutes ago. I can’t see because I am not actually fully conscious anymore, I am somewhere between passing out and awakening from a fainting spell. The ground seems to tilt. The sun reflects off of the sidewalk, the sidewalk reflects off the sun, and the sun reflects back off the sidewalk again, and for some reason the sidewalk never seemed so clean and white before, when the sun was not on fucking acid. I move my face, trying to get my nose and mouth between the fire sparks so that I can quickly steal some air for my collapsing lungs.
In this state, the last fucking thing I need is some person’s fucking body heat all up in my space. So I really don’t understand why some people don’t mind being all touchy feely when it’s clearly the fucking apocalypse. You could just as well greet me without unnecessary contact with my body, which completely blocks the path of oxygen I had carefully paved through the fire sparks. My involuntary reflex is to move my face away and desperately scramble to relocate the air. If you want to get my attention, you can just say my name. And if you are impressed with something I have done, you can just say “I am impressed with what you have done” instead of patting me on the back with your fucking heat transferring wool blanket hand.
*Altered photo originally from Front Page Magazine.