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.