Some days it’s so hot the chickens are laying hard-boiled eggs

September 14, 2020 — by Selina Chen

Of all times of the year, my AC deigned to break during a vicious heat wave earlier this month. The ice maker in the fridge then decided to jump on the bandwagon, thus refusing to produce any solid H2O cubes no matter how many chopsticks I poked into it in an attempt to fix the blockage.

Amid this apocalyptic heat, my younger brother had it easy: He spent the week in his underpants. But I, as a dignified older sister, was determined to devise more creative solutions.

With only one electric fan for my family to share, I resorted to using my zheshan — the traditional Chinese folding fan that was displayed on the cabinet. As I fanned myself using the bamboo-and-silk ornament embroidered with koi fish and calligraphy, I truly looked like some erudite poet (although regressing Chinese-speaking skills are pathetic enough to make my ancestors cry).

At least I looked intelligent. Off to a good start.

Still, every minute I could hog the electric fan was precious; I mean, I only broke my brother’s nose once to get it. Determined to maximize the benefits, I took out two frozen bottled waters and placed them in front of the fan, hoping the cool air could spread in my room.

Whether it worked or not, I did not know, because 106°F days did not give me the brains to conduct controlled experiments. Sorry, Ms. Nak.

One thing I did not need an experiment to ascertain, however, was that I was not going to drink warm water, which my very Asian mother insisted that we must do. It prevents you from having a heat stroke, she said, according to some ancient Chinese monks.

Of course, I would not subject myself to the torture of drinking warm water, so I took frozen bottled water and tried to drink it before the ice melted. Unsurprisingly, I was unable to drink the water in 20 seconds. The bigger problem, however, was that water vapor condensed on the surface of the bottle and slid down to form a giant puddle on my unfortunate SAT practice test.

To protect my sacred practice tests, I came up with a genius idea. I put a sock (one of the single ones I can never find a match for) on the bottle. A few bottles later, I got so accustomed to this drinking method that it became subconscious.

So, only after I finished moderating a Q&A session with a legislative assistant, did I realize that I had been drinking out of a sock. The meeting was recorded.

But the embarrassing meeting did not make me the most unfortunate member of the household — no, that would be the 15 chickens in my backyard that were probably feeling like they were already on the grill (oops, did I reveal something?) in their thick coats made of down feathers. Indeed, when I checked on them, the poor poultries were squatting with their wings spread open, panting through their half-open beaks.

To cool down the infernal heat for them, my family carried buckets of water down to the chicken coops and splashed it on the dirt. The chickens hopped and squawked, fearful of the liquid descending from above. They really are chickens, huh.

As vicious as the heat wave might have been, it was no match for my ingenuity.

 

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Photo of the week

Due to the lightning complex that occurred in the week of Aug.17, Santa Clara County is currently surrounded by wildfires, covering the city of Saratoga in heavy smoke. The air quality was in the range of 100 to 200 for the past five days, forcing SHS to close down. Photo by Selina Chen.

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