I don’t do well in the heat. I do even worse on sweltering subway platforms, waiting for delayed trains and wondering how I’m going to sop up the sweat pooling between my shoulder blades before I make it to my office.
Ever since an F train full of passengers lost power and got stuck underground for nearly an hour earlier this month, my daily commute has taken on a new layer of muggy misery. Now, my day begins with a combination of where-the-F-is-this-train sweat sprinkled with a few drops of why-do-I-even-try sweat.
While there’s little to distract from the impending doom that is navigating the MTA’s morning rush, Pandawell’s eight-pin-lighting mobile-phone fan offers a quick fix to make your trips on the train a bit more bearable.
At $5, this little gadget is the least amount of money I’ve spent for the most comfort. I discovered it while waiting in line at Paper Source in the Concourse at Rockefeller Center — an underground heat trap of its own accord — last summer. Pop this plastic fan into your iPhone’s charging port and voilà, a bit of solace in a steamy situation. The fan itself is so simple, it doesn’t even have an on or off switch, but it occasionally makes your phone think you’re launching iTunes, podcasts, or other listening apps. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard the low tones of NPR hosts soundtracking my breeze. It weighs in at barely an ounce and is made of soft plastic, so if you catch your fingers in its blades, you’ll survive unscathed. It will affect your battery, but no more than frantically reloading your Instagram feed. I use it in short spurts of five to ten minutes; battery drain of 1 to 2 percent kicks in at around ten minutes. Throw one in your gym bag and one in your purse so you’re never without a little relief.
It’ll keep your brow dry, offer a cooldown for sweaty pits, and come through in a clutch when it comes to melting makeup. If you’re brave enough to try your hand at liquid eyeliner as temperatures approach triple digits, hold the fan a few inches from your face for a quick dry.
And while you’re basking in your own personal breeze, shielded from the masses of clammy commuters, don’t be surprised if it attracts admirers impressed by your ability to turn your cell phone into solace.