Friday, July 31, 2009

An Unprecedented Heat Wave

This may seem a little over-the-top, but I would cut off my right arm for some air conditioning right now. That’s right, my writing and throwing arm. I’m serious about this, people.

I admit it: I’m a baby, a big ol’ fat one. I must have officially become a Seattleite, because I am woefully complaining about things that really aren’t that bad in the scheme of things. (Thankfully, however, I still know that Seattle traffic is about ¼ as bad as traffic in Los Angeles or the SF East Bay, so you won’t hear me whining about that anytime soon…) But it is 102° right now, with about 75% humidity, and I think I just might die. The hottest day in recorded Seattle history, and the city is not equipped to deal with extreme weather conditions, which the snow storms this winter proved.

Seattleites seem to have this strange amnesia with regards to the things they’ll need in certain weather. Every time the weather changes, people seem surprised: “Oh, look! The sun’s out! I’m going to need to buy some sunglasses!” “Oh no! Snow! I’m gonna have to buy chains!” “Wow, do you feel that? It’s really hot! Maybe I should buy a fan…?” It’s like everyone forgets what happened the year before. This is why all the fans are sold out of every store in the Downtown Seattle area because, apparently, no one ever thought they’d need to keep one around just in case.

Apparently, people are remembering that being hot and uncomfortable really frickin' sucks.

Everyone is walking around like this is the end of the world, looking grossly sweaty and lethargic. The shops and restaurants (that are lucky) have scribbled window paint that reads “COME IN! WE HAVE A/C!” The streets seem empty, and the people that dare venture out quickly hustle into their destinations, relieved to have made it inside alive. This must be what it feels like when zombies attack. Though right now, I’d welcome something devouring my brain.

My apartment is in a brick building, my windows facing east—lucky, because this means I only get morning sunshine. The 400 sq. ft. box that is my studio retains all heat, which means that if it’s 100° outside, it’s likely 95° inside. The air is stagnant, and my little tootsie-roll-like oscillating fan, placed about a foot from my face, lazily blows the sticky, hot air towards me. My body is rejecting fluids, and the world cares not.

Ennis is plotting my death as we speak. Oh, he knows the heat isn’t my fault, but being cooped up all day in an oven is, and on top of that, he isn’t allowed to come anywhere near me. He’s covered in fur! That would be like lying against a sweater! No thank you. He’s clearly hoping to be taken home by my friend Sarah, who has been coming in this week to walk him while I’m at work. She’s both my and Ennis’ personal savior. He gets out, and I get to stay in.

He has a new mom now, and she’s much more fun. This isn’t Ennis’ first experience with the heat of summer, but our camping adventures in Del Valle didn’t compare to this. At least with the dry heat of California, there’s some solace in the shade and a cool breeze every so often. But this Northwestern humidity is relentless, and there’s no way to escape. Humidity is just one of many reasons why I don't know how people could voluntarily live in the South.

Maybe the pups and I should go and sleep in the car? There’s A/C in there.

But maybe if I keep giving him ice cubes, rinsing him in a cold shower, and holding a frozen wash cloth to his hyperventilating chest, he’ll put off killing me for another time.

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