Some people are at the beach. Some are at the mountains. Others are sending postcards from foreign ports. Despite the evidence of the eye, it seems, in August, that everyone is somewhere cool and you must sweat it out alone.
August may be a month when it is just too hot to share the air, but there are still entertainments to be had. In August, the wise host/ess shoves the address book in a drawer and plans a party for one.
Take a large bowl of chocolate mousse and a split of champagne into the bathroom. Fill the tub with bubble bath, climb in and don't come out until your fingers wrinkle.
Rent as many wintry videos as you can find and lie on your stomach in front of the VCR until dawn, eating popcorn and watching the snow blow and the ice form. If that doesn't provide the proper chill, rent a copy of Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho," a film sure to get the goose bumps going.
Buy a harmonica and learn to play "Cool Water" or, if you belong to the school that believes heat drives out heat, "A Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight."
Make a serendipitous search, setting out with a coin instead of a map. Every time you come to a crossroads, flip the coin: Heads you go right, tails, left. You may wind up in a cool and shady nook.
Find a bridge over troubled water. A puddle will not do but a creek will, a reflecting pool, a stream, a river, a lake, an ocean. Watch the flotsam and see how much easier life is when you go with the flow.
Gather flat stones and skip them across the water. Practice until you can skip three, then four times.
Put a message in a glass bottle. Launch it.
Luxuriate at a health spa for the weekend. Of course you can't afford it. But haven't you noticed that it's never your extravaganzas you regret, only your practicalities?
Visit The National Gallery, lurk amid the cool marble and admire the lush plenitude of Rubens's women. Lying around indolently and out of clothes is a very cool thing to do.
Buy a jump rope and invite your best friend to join you in the park. See how many jumping rhymes you can each remember. Some people will think you crazy, others will join in. Heat never seems to bother children, who continue to race apace. Act like a child and perhaps you too can survive the summer.
Go to sea -- even if it's just in a paddle boat, tour boat, rowboat or raft.
Instead of making a proper, cholesterol-free, low-calorie dinner that dips sensibly into all the proper food groups, have a Girl Scout jamboree. Invite one small friend who does not take up much air to join you in toasting hot dogs over the grill. For dessert, make some s'mores, gooey, toasted marshmallows topped with a hunk of chocolate and held in place by graham crackers. Or banana boats, made by slitting the peel and inserting hunks of chocolate, then roasting the bananas in the coals until the chocolate melts. Sing "Will the Spearmint Lose its Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight?"
Lock yourself in the cool, tiled bathroom and paint Santa Claus faces on each of your toenails.
Invent a new drink with a name appropriate to the season: a Muggy Chuggy, a Strawberry Swamp, a Steam Dream or a Cool Fool. Or spend an evening trying out new ice-cream combinations, like a rich, deep chocolate topped with cassis sorbet. You may find the perfect dessert for your next party.
Make tutti-frutti, a luscious conserve of fresh fruits, mixed with sugar and rum. Put a quart of rum in a heavy crock and, as the fruit comes in season, add a cup of sugar for each cup you add of stoned and seeded fruit. Left to soak for three months, it is a rich and boozy dessert. As you cut up the fruit you can think of how, when it is ready to serve, the hot days will be gone.
Start writing your Christmas cards. Last year's late, next year's early. There's never time at the proper season and if you put a Christmas carol on the phonograph you may forget what is going on outside.
Buy a garden-party hat, wide-brimmed and dripping with flowers, or a proper Panama, to save you from the sun.
Throw white sheets over all your furniture, tack cheesecloth to the ceiling so that it drapes around your bed, make a pitcher of rum punch and pretend that you are not living a hot and miserable life in the District of Columbia but an adventurous and exotic one on a Caribbean island.
Devote a weekend to reading your favorite children's books to remind you of what life was like when summer was a magic time and you never felt the heat.