City Cast

The Unexpected Bliss of Sitting in Your Hot Car

Sonja Swanson
Sonja Swanson
Posted on August 16   |   Updated on August 18
Photo of the author relaxing in her hot car.

Ahhhhhh. Sonja relaxes in her mobile spa. (Sonja Cho Swanson/City Cast Las Vegas)

We’re starting something new on Fridays: a column we call The Appreciation Index. In it we'll examine and celebrate offbeat, overlooked corners of the Las Vegas experience. If you have thoughts along these lines, don’t be shy: Email us your ideas.

This essay was written by lead producer Sonja Cho Swanson:

The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in a Vegas movie theater. Of course, I get the arguments for pumping up the A/C when the triple digits hit, especially for businesses with foot traffic. Doors are opening and closing constantly. Customers complain. Line cooks and busboys in hot kitchens need the reprieve.

But lately, it seems like erring on the side of frigid has gone to extremes. The other day, I saw a shop thermostat set to 60 degrees. Then I walked past another storefront whose roaring A/C chilled the sidewalk from wide open windows. Much like grade inflation and tip creep, thermostat escalation has invaded the valley — an arms race that gives a whole new meaning to “Cold War” geopolitics.

So the wise Las Vegan always has a cardigan handy in summer (and women in particular know what I’m talking about). But perhaps the most singular pleasure I can recommend is the relief of stepping into your hot car after a frigid afternoon indoors. In direct sun, your vehicle-turned-solar-oven can reach 160 or 170 degrees — just above the minimum recommended by the North American Sauna Society to “guarantee the relaxing effects of a sauna.”

For two blissful minutes, sensation returns to your fingers, your lips unpurple, and your joints melt into the upholstery. You remember what it’s like to be human again. You remember sweat. You remember … how dang hot summer is, and how grateful you are for the A/C you’re now blasting in the car.

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