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?

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Cap'n Bob said...

I just got back from Vegas where it was blazing hot. I tolerated it well, for me, but tried not to stay outside for more than 30 minutes at a stretch. Living in the Pacific Northwest has spoiled me, however. After Virginia, California, and Viet Nam you'd think hot weather would be in my blood, but after a short time up here I lost most of my tolerance for heat.

Deka Black said...

I have the luck to live in a place with fresh summers. In fact, the last two weeks rained a humongous lot. And the temperature is 25ºC (that's 77 Fahrenheit) maximum this weeks. And i mean maximum. Is not strange to have days with 18ºC (64 fahrenheit)or even less

Very few really hot days here. i can't understand peoplewho enjoy heat.

I.J. Parnham said...

It was 50F this weekend in Scotland with a steady drizzle and an icy wind blowing in off the North Sea. I had to wear gloves and a thick coat to do some gardening and in the evening I had to get some wood in for the wood-burning stove so we could avoid wearing two jumpers and huddling under a rug for warmth.

My level of sympathy for all those suffering in a summer heatwave is a bit low!

Walker Martin said...

Well, I guess we are all different. I hate the winter and cold weather in NJ and lately I've been wondering if I can survive another winter.

My favorite time of year is the summer and warm weather. How do I cope with the weather? Like I handle every other thing in my life: I read. Reading has got me through all the tough times and the good times also.

I figure I have a month and a half of summer to go and then the suffering begins with the chilly fall weather which means the dark and dreary winter will be coming next.

Barry Traylor said...

With the heat index factored in the temperature here in Lancaster, PA last friday was 107.
Before central air in our homes and workplaces I think we were able to cope better than we do now.
My wife and I went on a Windjammer cruise in the Caribbean a few years ago(these are really neat as they are sailing ships). The plane landed at Saint Martin and when we got off the palne the heat/humidity really hit us. I noticed though that by the second day I did not mind the heat as much. They do not over air condition on the smaller islands we visited but they do have very wide open windows and ceiling fans.

Charles Gramlich said...

100 percent humidity here, with rain.

Richard R. said...

Charles, I.J., you have my deepest sympathy. Whether it's bitingly cold or broiling hot, temperature extremes are not pleasant. Bob is in the same boat I am, Washington and Oregon are the two most comfortable states so far this especially hot summer. Not that we didn't have a lot of rain and cool weather this last winter and spring, one of the coolest and wettest on record, but that I can cope with. Walker's method is a very good one. A book (or pulp), a cup of cocoa, or coffee, a very nice way to pass a winter afternoon or evening. Just for the record, today in Portland OR the forecast is dry, some overcast in the a.m., clear afternoon, high of 74, low of 57. Humidity is 62%

Those of you going to Chicago, have fun, buy stuff, and stay indoors!

Richard R. said...

Oops, I meant to say Columbus, OH!