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.
You realize, of course, that half the reason for this is because it's not supposed to be 95+ degrees in mid-May.
Posted by: The One True b!X | May 16, 2008 at 09:45 PM
LMAO. I moved here from Texas in 97 and although I have no use for extreme heat, I do still get a kick out of the world-stopping impact that the heat has on Oregonians. As fascinated with weather as Texans can be, I have never seen anything like it is here in Oregon. OMG it's 92! OMG it's snowing! Doesn't seem to matter what the weather is, it's a newsworthy event.
Posted by: Oregonian37 | May 16, 2008 at 11:22 PM
I am native born Oregonian but do have a home in Tucson Arizona also which means I am familiar with heat and how it's dealt with-- they call it air conditioning and in places like Phoenix where the heat rises to 120 in June, people hide out during the day to emerge at night. Some do get heatstroke usually those who don't know how to deal with heat and go out in it during the midday (what's that quote about midday sun and Englismen?). Midday is for napping in a lot of hot climates.
One other thing-- if you have air conditioning in Oregon, I don't, you probably mind it a lot less. Actually I don't mind it either, am enjoying our instant summer and hoping it means we will actually get one which seemed unlikely just a week ago; but I live on a creek and therefore even when it's 100 my nights are cool...
If we are getting climate change, as some think, I will be investigating the cost of changing the heat system out here to heat pump. Oh and that talk about it's a dry heat in the desert, don't believe it. When it gets really hot in the summer, it is also humid and the old swamp coolers don't do much good. Yesterday we had humidity with our heat which definitely made it feel hotter. Ask the sheep about that!
Posted by: Rain | May 17, 2008 at 08:23 AM