It seems like this summer is never ending, and even the strongest and bravest of air conditioning units are losing the battle against the incessant heat wave. Since my own air conditioning unit decided to die on me right in the middle of this last heat wave, I had to reach back to the methods of my esteemed grandparents and find a way to keep cool, and to avoid the deadliest traps posed by my desperate need to cool off.
Get the air moving
Now, you might be tempted, as I was, to just open all windows and let a breeze flow through the house. This would be a deadly mistake. You might get exposed to Promaja, the deadly draught, the silent killer of almost as many people as Not Eating Your Soup. Well, at least during the day. It seems that Promaja kills mostly during the day, for some unknown reason. So during the day you are to keep the house shuttered and closed, to keep the cool air in. The air in Slavic households magically stays cool despite the fact that a hot meal is prepared and served every day, or so I was told
In the evening, you will be allowed to open the windows, but, you have to keep the lacy white curtains drawn to prevent the bugs and mosquitoes from getting in. Also, you should turn off the lights to prevent the moths from flying in. It is most certainly not to stop the neighbours from seeing inside your house!
Grab a cold drink
But not too cold! You don’t want to catch pneumonia! Suggested beverages are: kompot and elderflower juice (but only homemade) if you are a child, and white wine mixed with mineral water or a beer if you are an adult. The beer is best cooled if you put it in the well bucket and keep it in the cold well-water. Just make sure everyone knows where it is or your beers will end at the bottom of the well. And speaking of water, don’t drink too much of it, or you will get frogs in your stomach. True story.
Water has a much better purpose anyway. You can take a bath in the evening. Now, you can’t go around wasting water or electricity, and it’s super hot anyway, so just fill about a third of a bathtub with cold water, and then wash off all the dust and filth of the day, preferably using soap. No fancy shower gels, those can’t possibly get you as clean as a washcloth and a bar of soap can.
Of course, you can always just fill a plastic washbowl with water and sit in the shade soaking your feet in it. You could, also, head for the nearest larger body of water. Fishing ponds, rivers and quarry lakes all count, of course. Seaside is only for vacations, everyone knows that.
Chill with friends.
And of course, the best way to cool off and survive the summer is by chilling with your friends. Preferably after dark, under the shade of an old tree, sipping on a beer which spent half the day cooling in your well. Or water, if you really want those belly frogs.