Dear Abby: I am, once again, faced with my annual dilemma. I cannot tolerate heat and humidity. I become short of breath, my heart pounds and I perspire profusely. I recover immediately if I go into an air-conditioned area.
I have discussed this with doctors. They attribute it to my “thermostat” and the fact that I am a very fair-skinned redhead. My mother had the same problem.
Of course, I stay in air-conditioned places. The problem arises when we’re invited to cookouts or to the home of someone whose place isn’t air-conditioned. I don’t know how to explain that I simply cannot come.
I am forever trying to think of excuses to get out of invitations. I feel bad because the problem is mine and I can’t control it. Even people who know about it don’t understand the extent of it. Do you have any thoughts on how to handle this with tact?
Hot and Bothered
In New York
Dear Hot and Bothered: Yes, I do. Tell these people the truth. If they’re your friends, they will understand.
Dear Abby: My husband drives the car with his knees while shaving, drinking coffee, brushing his teeth, talking on the cell and using one hand to steer. When I complain, he makes fun of me and says, “Those that can, do.”
I am in the shotgun/passenger seat and would prefer death to being paralyzed in an accident he causes. When I see him with coffee headed to the car, I insist on driving, but sometimes I don’t catch him in time.
We have been married for 30 years, and I know he loves me and isn’t trying to kill me. He reads your column, so maybe you can help me get through to him.
In Long Branch, N.J.
Dear Cringing: What your risk-loving husband is doing falls under the category of “distracted driving.” Eating, drinking, grooming and using a handheld cellphone are against the law in some states — including yours — because folks who steer with their knees and use their rearview mirror to shave, practice dental hygiene or apply makeup have been known to cause serious accidents.
Since you haven’t been able to get through to your husband, hang onto the car keys or insist that he finish with his “activities” before starting the ignition. And if he won’t cooperate, for your own safety, get out of the car and arrange for other transportation.
Confidential to ‘Disappointed in Albuquerque’: Do not give up on your dream to be of service to others. It may not have come to fruition yet, but it may happen. There is truth to the wonderful line uttered by Martin Luther King Jr.: “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite HOPE.”
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.