Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Dealing with the Heat
Rick over at The Broken Bullhorn posted a short sympathy note tonight for those of us who are broiling in the summer heat. Rick, you see, lives in Portland where it was 70 degrees today. (Insert jealous comment here.) I left a comment saying that it seems that the older I get, the less tolerant I have of the heat. But now that I think about it, I think I've been less than tolerant of summer for many, many years - probably dating back to when I lived in Hawaii.
Yes, Hawaii is beautiful, but damn it gets hot in the summer and can be quite humid too. I worked as a scuba instructor for a while which was great - I was underwater for up to three dives a day and the heat never bothered me. But then I couldn't dive for several months due to ear problems and my job changed to working in the office - an office that was basically an open air boathouse and right on the beach. But there was no air conditioning, unless you consider the afternoon tradewinds a/c. I remember running to my car after work so I could just turn on the air conditioner in the car.
Then for a couple of years after that, I found myself in Massachusetts at Smith College, arriving at school in the late summer of 1997. Funny, before I moved to Mass, I always thought of it as nothing but beautiful fall colors and really cold winters. Then, the first day I arrived at school, I got off and I could swear the humidity dripped off the tree leaves. I also found out that day that my room in the dorm was on the fifth floor, there was no elevator, and I had to haul up my computer (these were the days when monitors weighed like fifty pounds - remember those??) and all my suitcases. I was younger then and the adrenaline of starting a new life kept me going (and climbing those stairs).
About a year later I lived in Washington DC one summer while I worked as an intern. (No, I wasn't at the White House.) And that swamp heat about broke me. I didn't have my car with me, and so I relied on the Metro and my two feet to get me everywhere. That was a very tough summer. I did enjoy the spectacular thunderstorms, though, something that we don't get much of here in southern California. It's also green and lush in DC, and once in a while a nice rain cleaned everything.
So what the hell am I doing here in Santa Clarita, where it's probably one of the hottest places in the Los Angeles area. Well, there are a lot of reasons, some personal, that trump the heat card. When I moved here last fall, I figured that I could tough it out - I had already been in southern California for several years by then - but I still had my doubts. All last winter I dreaded this summer. And then one day I just gave up. I just surrendered mentally. I figured that hey, it's like living in Phoenix: you don't go out during the day, and do most of your outdoor activities in the very early mornings or late evenings. And I keep reminding myself that the other three seasons here are wonderful, which makes up for the July-September inferno.
And for the most part it's been okay. At least we don't have the humidity here that the rest of the country suffers from. But Portland's sounding mighty nice right now. Or England. Or the Arctic.
How are all of you coping with the summer? Do you find yourself less tolerant of it now, or more? What are some of the things you do to keep yourself from completely losing it during these heat waves?