COLUMBIA - Monday marked the start of the dog days in Columbia. After a reasonably mild summer, a heat wave has come our way, and here is how different people are sweating it.
No lights on. A fan set in the window sill. A second fan strategically placed to blow toward a navy blue recliner. A clear spray bottle with water set on the kitchen counter. These are the precautions MU student Stephen Markley takes to keep cool in his non-air conditioned, one-bedroom apartment at 121 S. Tenth Street.
“I sit in front of this fan, spray myself with a waterbottle, and sit around in my underwear,” Markley said.
Markley has lived in his Tenth Street apartment for three years and chose it because of the location. “I just tough it out every summer,” Markley said, “And I enjoy the winter.”
Caroline Kuby, a new resident just moving into the same apartment complex, brought just one fan from home.
“I may have to get another one,” Kuby said.
The St. Francis House, a homeless shelter at 913 Rangeline St., opened more space for people Sunday night due to the heat, said volunteer Lana Jacobs. Jacobs said they were able to accommodate all the people and supplied a cool place so the people could relax.
But Jacobs’ biggest concern is that people with severe mental illnesses often do not get the help that they need because they do not realize that it is too hot. “People with schizophrenia often overdress and are not aware that they are getting too hot,” Jacobs said. “Alcoholics are not drinking the right liquids and get dehydrated.”
Jacobs expects more people to come to the shelter but is unconcerned with the space they have.
“We always make enough space,” Jacobs said. “This is our home.”
The second phase of the Flat Branch Park project has begun and four employees from Columbia Parks and Recreation are prepared to spend their days working outside. They have all taken a course that taught them how to stay hydrated while working and how to spot dehydrated co-workers.
“We’re about as prepared as we can be,” said Lisa Phillips, a Columbia Parks and Recreation employee. “We’re wearing sunscreen and we’re fully trained on heat-related illness.”
Things that the four co-workers watch each other for are signs of nausea, headaches and if someone stops perspiring. If they feel dehydrated they sit in the shade and rub water on their arms because, according to Phillips, the evaporation helps them to cool off.
“You snap out of it pretty quickly,” said Phillips. “We’ve gradually prepared for this all summer.”
Pi Beta Phi
Many sororities are preparing for recruitment next week and some traditions may involve the outdoors. The Pi Beta Phi sorority house was practicing their walk-outMonday, in which they sing, entertain and exit the house in a synchronized formation to greet potential members.
“In a positive way, the heat is nice because we can tan while we’re out here,” Candice Crawford, the recruitment officer of Pi Beta Phi, said. “It was definitely this hot last year, but Pi Phi’s are tough.”
Crawford also said that there is plenty of water around the house and they have had no problems with the heat, other than some possibly grumpy girls.
“Heat is attached to emotions, so the girls can get tired or cranky,” Crawford said.
While Americans crank up their air conditioning when the weather gets hot, Lin Yi Ching, an international student from Taiwan, insists that an open window and a fan is all people need to stay cool.
“I don’t like the cold or rain,” Lin said. “I like sunshine or when it’s very hot.”
Lin doesn’t use the air conditioner unless she has a guest visiting her house, but Lin thinks that air conditioning 24 hours a day is a waste of money and energy. She thinks that Missourians should slow down.
“They will feel cold immediately if they just stop and calm down and drink some water,” Lin said.