In the Heat Of The Day: A Miss And A Hit

Previous posts about my ILD can be found here: Pulmonary / ILD Posts

In the Philadelphia area, Wednesday was another hot day in the chain of heat wave days that have cursed the country and the Philly area. It was hot enough that my sweat broke out in sweat. I fried absolutely nothing on the sidewalk but if I did, I’d blog about it.

However, as I have mentioned in previous blogs posts like this one (PULMONARY: The Heat Was/Is On ), I am now in my own uncharted territory. The dreaded OZONE WARNING. This announcement by concerned looking weatherpeople as part of the litany of do’s and don’t’s on a very hot day is now seemingly aimed directly at me.

Wednesday was a very hot day. Trust me. I know this because, even though I now have to concern myself with the dangers of heat to my lungs because of my progressive lung disease, I still am human. I still do not want to sit at the window and worry or envy those who can brave the elements.

The very hot day also coincided with two things that I actually had planned to do. Usually my planning nowadays doesn’t go much deeper than making sure I take my shower before someone maliciously launches the washing machine. This day, I had places that I wanted to go. And they were out of the house. Outside. In the heat. In the Ozone that I had been warned about.

So far, I’ve handled the heat as well as can be expected from someone who has hidden from it, but hiding is giving up. You can’t hide from life, too.

As you’ll note, the title of this post tells you that I had a “miss” and a “hit”. The miss involved something that I was really excited about going to and the “hit” was something to took too long to finally happen but was wonderful.

I have to use discretion with my discretionary income, since disposable income was disposed of a long time ago. I am always grateful when a concert or event comes along with an affordable ticket price. As you may have noticed if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, I LOVE, repeat, LOVE music, with a special place in my soul for music from Philly. When I listen to a song or group that came out of Philadelphia, it not only excites me as music but also as a little bit of hometown pride.

One group/project that I have been following and championing has been a Philly “supergroup” called IN THE POCKET. Started by David Uosikkinen , drummer for THE HOOTERS, POCKET has been paying tribute to songs and artists who are essential to the history and flavor of Philly music. Started a couple of years ago, the project also benefits the music programs at SETTLEMENT MUSIC SCHOOL. I attended SETTLEMENT in Germantown when I was a kid and learned music theory and tried to learn piano and trumpet. I did better at learning how to ride the “E” bus and eat at the Linton’s at Germantown and Chelten Aves.

You can read the full story of IN THE POCKET at this website: IN THE POCKET: ESSENTIAL SONGS OF PHILADELPHIA

I’ve seen them live twice: last year at WORLD CAFÉ LIVE and a couple of months ago at BROWNIES/23 EAST in Ardmore. IN THE POCKET works with a rotating lineup of musicians and guest artists, all from the Philly area. When they perform live, it is a raucous and hugely entertaining supegroup of the best of Philly. Beside the other members of THE HOOTERS, concerts have also featured Tommy Conwell, Jeffrey Gaines, Richard Bush, Ben Arnold, Richie and Charlie ingui (The Soul Survivors), along with the best of Philly bands.

On Wednesday, they performed a free concert in Malvern PA. Originally scheduled as an outdoor concert, I decided that the intense heat, coupled with me carrying a metal oxygen tank on my shoulder during a potential thunderstorm, was too much to chance. I decided to miss the concert, which by all accounts was amazing, even though it had to move inside to the PEOPLES LIGHT AND THEATER COMPANY.

All of the above is well and good, but it means nothing without explaining why this “supergroup” is so important to me. As I’ve said, I’ve always loved Philly music. I remember owning some of the old Cameo/Parkway 45’s, watching Bandstand and later Jerry Blavat’s DISCOPHONIC SCENE. My older brother never knew when I was “borrowing” his MANDRAKE MEMORIAL and NAZZ LP’s, which I did a lot. I boogied at places like EMERALD CITY to the ”Sound Of Philadelphia (International)”. I rocked in the cradle of liberty to Famous56 WFIL Radio ,WMMR and WYSP.

I kept listening and getting excited when a Philly group made it big nationally. When I started working in video stores like VIDEO WONDERLAND in Ardmore PA in the mid 80’s (across the street from 23 EAST CABARET) and MOVIE WORLD in Roxborough, one of the first VHS music videos I ordered was a short form CBS/FOX release of THE HOOTERS “NERVOUS NIGHTS”, which included AND WE DANCED, filmed at the old Exton Drive-In. I remember watching THE HOOTERS open the Philly portion of LIVE AID in 1985 and listening to them on radio open for Roger Waters at the legendary concert version of THE WALL staged at the Berlin Wall. As I started working for TLA Video, I found a whole new South Street sound as well as a lot of groups that the other staffers introduced me to.

So, who better than David to reawaken my memories by saluting Philly music beyond the greatest hits. The concerts are a highly energized 90 or more minutes of what rock and roll truly is about, the music and the crowds. That’s why it took Hades to keep me away from another show by them. Hades can go to hell next time.

That is my miss.

My “hit” was finally getting to meet one of my fellow employees at DUNDER MIFFLIN ALLENTOWN. DMI-Allentown was a fictional online “branch” of the DUNDER MIFFLIN PAPER COMPANY from the NBC show THE OFFICE. The site still exists in a watered down version, but for three years, it was my go to social media fan site and a place when I met all sorts of amazing people.

Like BoredBrenda.

Even today, I keep in touch with over 50 people who I met on the DUNDER MIFFLIN site, but many of us have never met in person. A couple dozen of us have semi-annual get togethers but many others remain friends despite cross country distances.

Brenda is an ex-Philly region refugee. She now lives in the Midwest, but comes back every so often to visit. She was back with her wonderful family this week, staying near Allentown. Brenda and I are probably Pennsylvania Dutch by default, since we seem to like that area (and apple butter) so much.

We had decided to meet for the first time on Wednesday. Turns out Wednesday was 100 degree heat. We picked Quakertown as a meeting point, probably because it had the word “quaker” in it, but also because I figured we could find some non-chain restaurant to have lunch at. Even with the heat. I did not want to miss finally meeting a good friend. I can always see IN THE POCKET, but hanging with Brenda and her boys was a rare opportunity.

I decided that traveling in the morning and eating at noon would get me home before the hottest part of the day, as if the difference between 95 and 100 was that huge. We met at Chilkoots BBQ, which is in a small strip mall. It is one of those unspectacular looking local places that can amaze you with great food, and this did. I had a great beef brisket BBQ sandwich and yes, PEIROGIES!!! .

And I met Brenda. What a great conversation, about music, the area, politics, her family, my family and just anything and everything. It was a perfect reason to brave a blast furnace. It was a perfect reason to meet a friend. And it was a perfect way to simply relax and feel like my old pre-oxygenated self.

I drove back down Rt 309 to come home. The heat was boiling by then. Even with the car air conditioning, I was sweating. I felt the heaviness of the air in my sinuses and lungs. It wasn’t unbearable but it was definitely uncomfortable. Still, with every slightly labored breath that I took, I also was able to realize how good it felt to be out and meeting a friend. Every hot lap of air was a good memory, even though I was wiped out.

There will be more days like this Wednesday and hopefully, more days that I can still struggle through the muck to enjoy the good stuff. I hate having to take all these precautions with my lungs now and in the future, but if these precautions get me more opportunities to hang with out with friends like Brenda and rock out with friends like David, then I’ll deal with every precaution while singing along with the chorus of Disco Inferno, especially on a day when “burn baby burn” can be taken literally.

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