Thursday, July 30, 2009

When your Nutella can be poured like maple syrup, your house may be a smidge on the warm side.

If you live in Seattle, you're up to your sweaty neck in conversation and collective kvetching about the heat. There's no question that it's hot. Yesterday broke the all-time record for a daytime high (dating back to and through 1891). That's for any day on the calendar. The prior record was an even 100, reached twice before. Yesterday was officially 103. Today it might also be 101 or thereabouts. Nighttime low highs have also been broken - the record for any day had been 69, yesterday's overnight low was 71. Our neighborhood even had its power go out last night at 9:30 until sometime between 1 and 2am for heat-related reasons. That's never happened to us here before. But for all the general discomfort and unwelcome moments of cranky people popping up with a cliched lament or two, it just ain't all that bad. I had a shirtless guy filling up his tank at the same time as I was this morning strike up a conversation about the weather after telling me he liked my hat. When has something that surprisingly pleasant last happened to anyone in an urban setting? Weather, after all, is the safest conversational avenue. And nothing gets people chattin' quite like extreme weather.

I believe the key to even-tempered survival is some degree of prior exposure to heat. Summers in Wisconsin would get swelteringly hot on those rare occasions - usually in direct inverse duration to those January way-below-zero cold snaps. But for this level of still, stifling heat I look to the period we lived in Dallas (Sarah for 4 years, me for two). Dallas can be ridiculously hot, while even the smallest store or office has the AC set for near 60. Where I worked, everyone had a "work sweater" waiting for them at their desk. When the difference between inside and outside is close to 50 degrees, your body is constantly confused. Which is partly why I think Dubya was so flummoxed by the English language...but that's a different topic for another time. The summer I moved to Big D, the entire month of July had daytime highs over 100 except for the 4th when an hour worth of light rain in the morning held the afternoon high at 99. I remember on July 11th walking across acres of blazing parking lot outside of a hideous, huge Fry's electronics superstore where the outside temp on their sign at just after noon was 111. If ever there was a moment when I considered hopping a freight train headed toward Canada or beyond, that was it. But it passed. Eventually. As will this sticky departure from the norm in the Great Northwest. Although, the planet is still screwed so...

Hope your own trip to Home Depot is for appliances that are fully stocked and priced to move. Rock on.

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