Christen Amendt knows what it’s like to tackle the elements.
Ever since she started as a sign-flipper for Little Caesar’s Pizza back in February, the 20-year-old has become very well versed in how to handle both the frigid and freakishly hot temperatures that come with spending hours trying to grab the attention of motorists at Manteca’s busiest intersection.
Now that the mercury tends to hover in the 90-plus degree area on most afternoons, Amendt knows that she needs to keep a bottle of water nearby so that the symptoms of heat exhaustion don’t start to creep in on her like they have several times since she started.
“I’ve almost passed out – I didn’t think that was going to happen just being out here that long,” she said on Monday when the high in Manteca reached 100 degrees. “But it comes with the job. I love what I do and I wouldn’t change anything about it.
“I just need to make sure that I have that cold bottle of water in my purse. With that I’ll be alright.”
She’s definitely not alone when it comes to having to deal with the heat on a regular basis.
Steve Larson, who used to work on an asphalt pouring crew but now runs equipment for a construction company in the Bay Area, says that sometimes the best friend that you can have when the sun is beating down is long sleeves.
What some would consider a winter get-up, he said, can help keep your skin from getting burnt and keep you cool at the same time – especially with heat radiating from the concrete and the asphalt.
“It’s not uncommon to see guys wearing long sleeve T-shirts with a shirt under their hardhat that covers their neck,” he said. “When you’re out there for eight or 10 hours in a day and the only shade you can find is next to a truck, you want to keep as much of yourself covered as possible.
“When you start to sweat it actually works to keep you cool underneath.”
And if the forecast is correct, it’s going to be another hot week in the Central Valley.
According to Accuweather the temperature will be in the mid to high 90s through at least Aug. 8.
It’s not exactly what Amendt likes to hear, but she knows that she has to put in her dues to work her way inside and knows that there’s always an air conditioned seat if things get too bad.
“I’m one of those people who just doesn’t give up – I’m out here today doing this with a torn muscle in my hand,” she said. “If it gets really bad and I start to feel like I’m going to pass out, I’ll go inside. But I love doing this.”