Friday, July 2, 2010

Blowin' hot and cold

I often marveled at tales from friends who lived in faraway places like Minnesota and Wisconsin about the brutal winters and their daily battles with snow and ice – places so cold that people would often go weeks without venturing outdoors for any length of time. From heated garage to underground parking lot to skyways between buildings ... if you worked at it, they said, you really could get by without coming face-to-frozen face with the arctic-like temperatures.

And from the comfort of my mild-mannered Florida or Georgia winter, I scoffed at the folly of living in such an extreme place.

Well, you know what they say about payback.

Here I am living in Hades, at the other end of the extreme, where we're several weeks into a heat wave that will last a good four months. That's four months of ducking from front door to waiting taxi cab, taxi to the comfort of an air conditioned mall or workplace, the idea of a pleasant stroll down the street as ludicrous as trudging through the snow and ice just for the fun of it.

At the moment, a few minutes past midnight, a quick check at reveals that it's 95 degrees with 65 percent humidity – "feels like 104" – and the forecast for the next ten days ticks off like an out-of-control metronome: 102-103-104-106-104-108-109-108-109-110 ...

It won't stop until it hits 115 or higher, not once but for days on end when we reach August and September. The hottest I've ever been before was probably on Hilton Head Island in late August, but that really doesn't compare. This is not the "dry heat" of the Arizona desert, either, thanks to the 60-70 percent humidity. This is a sweltering, oppressive heat that saps your energy and spirit and drives you indoors with every bit as much force as any icestorm ever did.