Days like today, I feel so superior to most of my fellow Oregonians. I grew up in central California, where for much of the year a temperature under 100 degrees is considered a cool day.
So here I am on May 16 in Salem, Oregon – enjoying a record breaking heat wave for this date. The thermometer in my car read "100" when I was downtown this afternoon.
Ooh! Wow! One single freaking day with a three digit temperature and the local news is filled with tips about how to survive.
Hydration. Sunscreen. Wear a hat. Don't exert yourself.
Oregonians are such wussies. Of course, I've lived here myself for 37 years. But those 15 years in California, from age seven to twenty-two, trained me to be a macho man when it comes to a bit of heat.
A few days ago, when the temperature was still in the high 70s, I walked into a Starbucks and ordered my usual nonfat vanilla latte. I never get asked this question, but that day the barista said "Do you want it iced?"
"Good god, no," I told her. "I could be crossing the Sahara Desert and I'd still have my latte hot. It's just wrong to drink it cold."
Probably she'd been making iced drinks all day long for Oregonians who worried about suffering heat exhaustion as they walked a few steps from their air conditioned office or car into the air conditioned Starbucks.
When I was a boy (ah, how I look forward to my one year old granddaughter getting a bit older, so I can use these words much more frequently), all summer long I'd ride my bike to see my friends in Three Rivers, California.
They weren't down the block. There weren't any blocks in this rural hamlet nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. I had to pedal miles to get to my best friend's house. Mostly in over 100 degree weather. Up and down those foothills. On a three speed.
No problem. So now I say to heat, "Bring it on. Show me your best stuff."
Today I stood in the sun for a while, waiting for my car to be washed at Car'l B Klean, while inferior Oregonians cowered in the shade under an umbrella. I leaned on a railing, skin blazing, feeling like Leonardo deCaprio in "Titanic."
I'm the (non-wuss) king of the world! On hot days in Oregon, at least.