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August 8, 2012 / Jess

My boyfriend is hot. Really hot.

Dear Army,

It’s currently 100 degrees in Kuwait. No big deal, right? It’s been a hot summer. Most of the U.S. has been in a drought, and I’ve seen the temperature hover around 100 degrees several times myself.

The difference? It’s 100 degrees here as the high. It’s 2 a.m. in Kuwait right now – 100 degrees is their low. The dew point is also 43 right now; after it hits 60 – which it easily will during the day – humidity becomes more noticeable. Once it hits 75, which it will, the humidity feels stifling. (Shout out to weather.com, because I definitely don’t know this stuff on my own.)

August is the hottest month in Kuwait; the high averages in the 120s but often feels hotter since the country borders the Persian Gulf.

It’s easy to feel bad for them, but it’s not easy to really understand. That’s one of the hardest parts of this experience for me – I understand my soldier so well; intrinsically, we’re very similar. I’ve never met someone who views and understands the world the way I do. I can understand him, but I cannot understand what he goes through. I will always only be a civilian.

That doesn’t stop me from trying though. I became obsessed with the idea of understanding what 120 degree weather feels like.

So yesterday, I wore a sweater and dress pants to work. I wanted to be fully covered, like the soldiers are in their uniforms. When I got to work, I didn’t leave my car windows open. I let my car bake in the sun for nine hours. When I got into my car at the end of the day, the air was hot and stuffy. I started the engine.

And turned the heat on high.

I only made it 10 minutes. 

It took less than a minute for my contacts to start sticking to my eyes – the moisture was already being sucked out of my body as fresh hot air mingled with the stale hot air in my car.

After two minutes, I began to get a headache.

At three minutes, I cursed – because it had only been three minutes.

I kept adjusting my hands on the steering wheel; the wheel was too hot to hold for more than a second or two at a time. The air blowing in through the vents felt like pinpricks on my skin; I felt a need to keep moving. The breeze was not comfortable – it only made things worse. It was like windburn and a sunburn all at once. It was like a hair dryer turned on high was just pointing at my face.

At six minutes, I felt a burning pain on my chest and around my neck. I looked down – my metal necklace was starting to burn onto my skin.

At 10 minutes, I felt mildly short of breath, rather dizzy and frustrated. I don’t sweat much normally, but pools of moisture had already started to form under my arms, on the backs of my knees and on the small of my back. My skin had the beginnings of a film of sweat everywhere. I felt nauseous – from the heat, and from the wave of fresh, more accurate empathy.

I only made it 10 minutes. 

Army, you’re making them deal with this for months – months.

I don’t know how they do it.

Army, I don’t know why you do this to them.

(Not) love,

Jess

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One Comment

Leave a Comment
  1. jayem / Aug 13 2012 10:39 pm

    Reblogged this on The Journey Home and commented:
    So true.

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