Sunday, July 3

You Think You've Got Summer?

I live in one of the driest and hottest areas in North America. It’s not bragging, or one-upmanship, it’s simply the truth. But some people just have to top you no matter what. I was on the phone with a midwest colleague a few weeks ago, and she asked “How’s the weather out there?” I replied it was hot already, 105 or more. I braced myself for the inevitable response: “Well, at least it’s a dry heat. You should try our humidity.” My teeth clenched. The other one I always hear is “Yeah, well you should try winter in Buffalo.” Point taken, but we were discussing summer, bonehead.

Everyone lives with something unpleasant climate-wise; blizzards, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, what have you. I spent most of my life with earthquakes that would make anyone east or south of Sacramento wet their pants. I’ve lived in 90 degree heat with 8 billion percent humidity and mosquitoes the size of clipper ships. I’ve visited any number of places in less than ideal conditions. So don’t talk to me about heat.

All of the following is absolutely true. I’m not making any of it up. There are a handful of towns and cities of appreciable size I would agree can match our heat. But damn few. The rest of you can take your precious humidity and stick it.

My fish pond has actually lowered by three inches in one day. With no leaks. In the shade.

It’s not unusual to start my car, get out, and wait a few minutes for the air conditioning to kick in so I can touch the steering wheel without virtually burning my hands. Even then I might drive with two fingers for a while. During the depression, many construction companies issued gloves to their truck drivers in the summer.

Take it from me and a lot of transplanted east-coasters: 95 degrees with humidity is kindergarten compared to 123, no matter how dry.

I’ve made sun tea in ten minutes.

You can get sunburned in less than twenty minutes. And that’s if your skin is already acclimated to it.

Even the hardiest cactus in my backyard needs water twice a month in August.

It has been 105 at midnight.

Buzzards don’t live here.

One of the definitions of a desert is any region which receives less than ten inches of rainfall annually. We average four or less.

The ten year warranty on my above ground pool lining didn’t last three years.

When the sprinklers go on early in the morning, every bird within three states takes a bath on my front lawn.

The ground temperature in the rocks in my backyard can exceed 130-140. Even lizards and snakes go underground.

When the desert winds kick in at 40 mph or more in 120+ heat, newly planted flowers will die in less than 2 hours.

And, yes, we do get humidity. You think 90 is bad? Try a cooling trend from 122 to 118 during the August monsoon season with 80% humidity.

There are T-shirts in every souvenir shop with drawings of cow skulls and vulture skeletons. The caption is “At least it’s a DRY heat.”


Kaci said...

Damn. I thought central Tejas was bad. I hear ya on the starting your car and then letting the ac kick it a bit before getting in. I've actually thought about installing keyless ignition start for just that purpose. Start my car from just inside the house or store, then by the time I get to it it will already be cooled down to a frosty 85 degrees rather than the typical 101 we have here.

Mom said... I glad we're visiting Las Vegas in August!! xxxoooMom