remarkable times

of a

common life

sidebar articles

June 4, 2001--

I just came back to my cubicle from my usual lunchtime walk, a habit for the past couple months. I feel a need to get out from under the air conditioning and get out into the sunshine and breeze. I'll buy a sandwich and stroll around the grounds just spitting distance from the runways and taxi ways of the Savannah International Airport. It's kinda cool watching the jetliners takeoff and land so close at hand. Sometimes combat aircraft are seen next door and we get the treat of hearing 102 decibel jet engines roar down the runways, feeling from head to toe the violence of the propulsion, watching as they sometimes shoot almost straight up into the sky, afterburners blazing.

It hasn't rained in so many many days it has seemed quite safe to expect to get out in the midday heat. At this latitude of 32° North (and 89° West Longitude) the sun is very high in the sky this close to the Summer Solstice. At the moment the temperature is about 84° Fahrenheit, but factoring in the humidity creating an "apparent temperature" it feels 90°. With this fair breeze blowing I can handle it. It's supposed to get to 93 this afternoon. The summer has begun.

For me it's a tonic from the chill of the air conditioning at my desk which feels more like 65° as I sit directly under the vent, to which I have fashioned a redirecting device. It is just too brisk for me, except that is really kind of refreshing immediately after coming inside from that heat. But there are a few things you can do absolutely nothing about; the weather is one. Except to try to escape it.

Melissa has a tougher time with the heat than I do. High blood pressure will have that effect. But we moved down here from the north country to get away from its long predominant freeze, and get closer to the feel of the Caribbean (see Leaving Ann Arbor). So I try and not complain about the higher-than-we've-been-used-to heat level. My pat response, which drives Melissa crazy, is "weather's weather." To me complaining about it like complaining about one's fingerprints. It's a given. Sometimes it gets hot. Sometimes it gets cold. It gets dark at night and then gets light. None of these things are really all that surprising. Especially the heat this far south. Especially the outdoor environment. But I didn't create this phrase to aggravate her. Not intentionally, I mean. In fact I really don't say it at all anymore. She does that for me. She'll be particularly uncomfortable and drop the three little words, "Man, it's hot!" Then she'll look more directly at me and say it. "I know, weather's weather!" with no small amount of exasperation in her voice, and a slight roll of the eyes. "I didn't say anything!" "You don't have to." That's one of the ways I get in trouble for things I don't say. Life's like that sometimes. Kind of like the weather. The things you can't do much about.

Not that where we lived in Michigan didn't get quite hot in the summer, with all that vegetation of forest and farmland as well as being surrounded by Great Lakes. This did tend to perpetuate a horridly high humidity level. Plus we didn't have a house with air conditioning when we lived in Ann Arbor. But a couple weeks a year it could get pretty insufferable. It's just that down here there's a lot more of it. The up side about that is that there's less of the cold weather. And we do now have central air. However there still exists cold weather down here (not that you'd get many Northerner's to appreciate that). It still gets cold enough to create a static electricity problem. Every time I get out of my car I get electrostatic discharge when I touch my hand to the metal door. One has to be careful when petting the kittens, they hate getting zapped on the nose when they are trying to be affectionate. You don't want to discourage affection!

Sure the temps hover around an average of about 40° during the winter. It is quite a respite for the ex-Michigander who is used to weeks, nay months, most of the year, of sub-freezing, often sub-zero weather. The scrapping of ice off windshield with numbing hands, the pre-heating of cars in the morning, the sloshing around in deep snowdrifts, and dragging it all in your house when you come inside and having to clean it up, the layers and bundles of clothes, the gloves, scarves, hats, goggles, and boots. Of slipping on ice nearly breaking your neck, certainly throwing your back out, the snow shovelling morning and evening. The driving slippery roads risking life and limb among the throngs of out of control drivers suffering the same ice fields that pass as roads. The salt strewn roads created as a cure for the ice eating away and corroding your cars. The long dark nights and wickedly short moments of daylight, that is when you can actually see the sun as opposed to the interminable grayness of bleary, cloudy skies; so little waking daylight hours. And indoors: the sweaters, wool socks, frosted over windows, thermostats set high and furnace blasting constantly, long johns, down comforters, wool blankets, cold bathroom appliances. All of that we left behind. So we have seen some improvement in the 930 mile relocation towards the equator.

But still, it's not quite perfect. I mean we still have to turn on the heat (ugh!) in the winter. And we still have to wear jackets, and often gloves when we go out, in those months from January to March. All in all, though, I think we should have moved another ten or so degrees further south. (Key West, Florida is at 25-1/2° Latitude.) But for the time being this is good. In later years we can move to St. John's or Antigua which is where we really belong. (Read of our Caribbean experience.) I don't think that's asking too much, do you?

~ Comments or suggestions ~

elswhere in this site:

front page
the stories
send a message
search this site