Thursday, August 3, 2017

Writer’s Workshop: It’s Not The Heat…

It’s the humidity!

When I hear someone say, “I’m moving to Arizona; It’s hot there, but it’s a dry heat,” I always think “Yeah, but so’s an oven.” I was in Tucson a number of years ago, and it was 110° almost every day, and even at night it would be in the upper 80’s. A lot of the restaurants there that had outdoor seating had a constant mist of water running on the patio in an effort to cool it off. The mist never really got that heavy, because it would evaporate quickly, but it did cool things down somewhat.

Sentinel Peak (Arizona)

One day when I was there I took a trip up Sentinel Peak, which has a big letter “A” on it for the University of Arizona. And it got really dark and started to thunder, and by the time I got back down the mountain it was raining. I didn’t think it rained there, but evidently they have “monsoons,” and besides, Tucson is higher up than, say, Phoenix, and will get more rain.

I used to think Chicago’s humidity during the summer was bad until I moved to Atlanta. I figured Atlanta’s not on the coast like Chicago (the coast of Lake Michigan, anyway) so it’s going to be less humid. Uh, no. I guess the Chattahoochee River makes things more humid in Atlanta than Lake Michigan does in Chicago, plus in Chicago you have the breezes blowing in off the lake that cool things down, at least within a mile of the lake shore. Beyond that, not much.

The worst place for humidity I’ve been has to be Houston. It’s like walking through a bathtub. (Mary’s been to New Orleans and says it’s worse.) The first time I went to Houston I couldn’t believe how cold they kept it inside. Outside it’d be 95° with about 95% humidity, inside it’d be 68° with about 20% humidity. That’s the way it felt, anyway. A week of that, and I went home and caught an upper respiratory infection that didn’t clear up until a couple of weeks later. Meanwhile, I flew to Hawai’i, and was in utter agony anytime the plane took off or landed. I thought my head was going to explode.

Second most-humid place I’ve been was Singapore, mostly because it rains every day, then the sun comes out and all the rain evaporates, to return the next day. It’s kind of like that in Atlanta, but we don’t get rain every day. It just threatens, getting really dark and starting to thunder, then the sun comes back out as if to say “Just kidding!” When a thunderstorm does actually strike, the weather radio starts shrieking and the local TV meteorologists break out all their toys and Jeopardy! is pre-empted. Me being a weather guy (i.e. I’ve read a lot about weather and picked up some of the lingo that I could use to impress the hell out of people, especially pilots), you’d think I could sit there with my eyes glued to the TV, but after a while it gets really boring.

Which is why I’ll stop here…

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

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