Thursday, July 18, 2013


So while preparing for another day of sweating, moving slow, feeding and watering the crew who are also moving slow, mysteriously smelling paint and tasting wine from a couple of nights ago, I was thinking.
I’m glad I’m not one of those guys I saw today on my morning ride installing a roof or paving the streets. I was lucky enough to get an office job and even those hot days we could run fans (yes, just like high school) and somehow get by. Yes, back in the day, the schools were not air conditioned or closed when it got hot.
I see this article of clothing that describes itself as wicking. I had to look it up.
“Layered clothing is a manner of dressing using multiple garments that are worn on top of each other. Some of the layers have different, largely non-overlapping, functions. Using more or fewer layers, or replacing one layer but not others, allows for flexible clothing to match the needs of each situation. Two thin layers can be warmer yet lighter than one thick layer, because the air trapped between layers serves as thermal insulation.
Layered clothing is particularly relevant in cold climates, where clothing must at the same time transfer moisture, provide warmth, and protect from wind and rain. In a hot and dry climate, clothes have very different functional requirements: they must block the radiation from the Sun, and allow for sufficient air circulation. Therefore, layered clothing in the sense used in this article is largely irrelevant to hot and dry climates.
Outdoor and sports wear manufacturers favor layered clothing because, among other reasons, it allows them to offer so-called "technical" or "functional" clothes which are optimized for the particular demands of a specific layer. Such clothes are often made of advanced synthetic materials, and can be expensive.”
What? I understand layering in the winter but what does this have to do with wicking in the heat? Then I found a picture (sometimes a picture will cut to the chase and explain the point) and it makes more sense.
A material that allows water to evaporate away from the skin is wicking. It is sort of like the opposite of Gore-tex®, a material that keeps water out from the skin but lets air to evaporate from the body. I used to have one of these jackets and they really work. While riding a bike in the rain, the idea is to keep the rain off while letting the body breath when pedaling. I’ve tried all kinds of jacket and the Gore-tex®, was the best. The rubber jackets keep the rain off but when you finish riding you are soaked anyway. The nylon jackets let some air out, but the rain soaks you anyway. Don’t know what happened to that jacket. Maybe the dog ate it.
Why all this stuff about wicking? Waking up this morning under a ceiling fan and not thinking it was that hot inside, I sat up and my t-shirt is soaked. Some time during the night or maybe before my body decided it wanted to vaporize. Maybe there was an exciting action dream or some damsel in distress that got me all hot and bothered, but it was probably just the heat. When the body gets so hot, it just sweats.
For those who sleep under covers in the summer blasting your electric bill with a frosty bedroom, you will not understand until the power goes out. Then you can join the majority of the earth who do not have air conditioning. You will soon learn what global warming is all about, but only for a week or two. For that is all it takes to sweat the evil out of your body, plus it gives us something to complain about in the slow news summer months.
I think I’ve got some of the wicking t-shirts so maybe I’ll put this soppy piece of weathered cotton in the dirty clothes pile at the foot of the bed and wait for a new shirt to become soaked with yesterday’s sorrows and tomorrows tears.

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