COLUMBIA — Tuesday was a hot so sticky it wrapped around you and held you in a big, sweaty hug. The heat intensified the relief of walking into an air-conditioned building.
It was even cooler walking into an ice rink. Jefferson City's Washington Park Ice Arena was about 50 degrees on the ice — nearly two times cooler than outside.
"The telephone repairman was in here a while ago and asked how much I'd charge to let him go lie down on the ice," recreation supervisor Missy Morarity said. "Poor guy, he was already covered in sweat."
About 4 p.m., Columbia reached the hottest part of the day, with a temperature of 96 degrees but a heat index of 108 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Radio announcers lamented the heat between songs and reminded listeners that a heat advisory was in effect. But on a day when practically everyone was trying to keep cool, some found it was, well, no sweat, because they work in the cold.
Naymon Holliman had to add a coat to his ensemble of long pants and work boots before cleaning the windows around the ice rink, the ones right along the ice that keep pucks from flying into someone's face.
"This is perfect with the heat," Holliman said. "I mean, wouldn't you want to work inside when it's this hot?"
Holliman, who is on work-release detail from Algoa Correctional Center in Jefferson City, has spent the past two months doing maintenance work at the ice arena, which opened Monday after being closed for a break.
He helped put the ice down and paint the hockey lines to prepare for the reopening. "I haven't fallen yet, thankfully," Holliman said. "I don't know how many crash landings this body can take."
Back in Columbia, Harison Pitchford mixed toppings into the cold custard at Andy's Frozen Custard stand.
"It's been nuts," Pitchford said. "The people sitting over there have been here since 10:40 a.m., 20 minutes before we open."
Talking to him through the window of the stand, you got a blessed blast of chilled air and a sweet whiff of chocolate. "It's obviously not hot in here," he said.
Over at the Forum 8 movie theater, Bree Tonnsen was happy to be inside selling tickets, even though the opening and closing of the doors sucked some of the punch out of the air conditioning. Her other job, selling knives for CUTCO, requires her to drive around a lot.
"This summer especially, I definitely enjoy having an indoor job," Tonnsen said. "Even driving to and from my appointments in my no-air conditioned car is killer."
At Going Bonkers Family Fun Center, children jumped, ran and crawled their way through the multileveled playground. Parents sat at tables, watching them work off some of their energy without having to go outside in the heat.
Employee Melissa Pierce stamped the hands of the squirming, impatient youngsters and helped them exchange their tickets won in arcade games for prizes.
"It's a lot nicer working indoors," Pierce said. "I know my boyfriend works at a golf course. He loves it, but hates the heat."
Still, in the search for people who work in the cold Tuesday, nothing compared with the ice arena, where even off the ice the temperature was about 60 degrees. The other places gave you a tingle when you walked through the door — the ice arena gave you a shock.
"Yeah," Morarity said, pausing to dump bags of ice into a soda machine, "with it being 110 today, I'm fine with being in here."