Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It's Coming.


*Yes, this post is about "boring" weather talk; but it is important, nonetheless, because this weather will dictate my living habits for the next six months. ("six months?" you say, yes, that is how long summer lasts in Arizona)

When I lived back in Minnesota, I remember seeing those weather maps, from time to time, with the continental U.S. where different colors spreading across the country signified different temperatures. No matter the season, Minnesota usually had aqua blues and neon greens for the cooler temperatures. I always noted that Phoenix, Arizona usually had the "hottest" colors that the scale went to - bright reds and purples. Never did I think I would have to LIVE in those colors. Oh, and so you know, a color hasn't even been invented yet for the temperature inside your car after it's been sitting in the middle of a parking lot all day.

Yesterday it went up to 94 degrees. It's April. Do you know what that means? By May, we'll be in the 100's. And then, of course, there is the 120 heat. If you have not lived in 120 degree heat, let me describe a simple day of running errands for you:

When you wake up, the temperature in your house is in the mid 80's (you try to save on electricity bills) and you're drenched in sweat. You turn the thermostat cooler, but your house is still too miserable for you to put clothes on. So you take a shower - you have the water turned to what would have been frigid in the winter, but now it's refreshing. When you turn the sink faucet on to brush your teeth, the "cold" water scalds you and you have to wait a minute for the water to cool down...it's still very warm after 2 minutes of running the water, so you relent and brush your teeth anyway. You can never fully dry off after the shower because you keep sweating; your fresh clothes get hot and sticky before you finish your hair and makeup (which will melt off before you get to your first errand, so don't worry about perfect application).

Okay! You're ready to head out and be productive! You open your front door and step outside. Instantly, the air is sucked out of your lungs and evaporates within nanoseconds. It's a shock every time. The sweat that rushes to your skins surface evaporates as well and you feel like you're in some sick furnace (you were tricked! the outdoors looked so pretty from inside the house!). Once you get your bearings and catch your breath, your first instinct is to RUN to your car for shelter. But, you rationalize, the last thing you should do in this oppressive heat is expend more energy. Either way, all you can manage is a slow, hulking walk; try to keep your thighs from rubbing together and your arms from brushing at your sides - no sense in making more heat with the friction.

You finally lumber up to your car. Wait - you didn't plan on how to OPEN the door! That is shiny metal that has been sitting out in the sun for hours! Suck it up, grab the handle and yank the door open. Oh, if that first step out of your house was bad, it is nothing to the heat your car exhales. It's like a monster out of the pits of hell, breathing its foul stench onto you. You whimper as you get in and struggle with grasping the melting seat belt buckle (you debate on how important safety really is). You try to steer with only three or four finger tips because the steering wheel seems to be on fire. And though you have the AC cranked all the way up, you aren't able to start breathing again until you pull into a parking space at your destination.

Of course, you face the same struggle and debate as you get out of the car - do you run or crawl to the store entrance? Once you finally cross the threshold - oh sweet cold air! You think it's the most glorious feeling and you consider how much extra time you can spare in this Wal-Mart. But don't think you get off this easy - the sudden, drastic change in temperature gives you a stabbing headache; your dear refuge comes with a price. Though you enjoy the refreshing temperatures of the store and want to take your sweet time, you know that with every second ticking away, your car is getting hotter and hotter in the parking lot. You can't believe yourslef, but you're actually rushing to get back to your car!

But it's no use, the same firey monster awaits you in the parking lot. You debate how productive you really want to be this day. And can you do any of these tasks after dark? It's a little bit cooler then...

So. That is why I DREAD summers here. The (fleeting) winters always seduce me, but then I'm brought back to the hellish summers. All I ask for is pity; after all, I am not one to suffer in silence. ;)

Um, I hope I haven't scared off any visitors!