I just got back from a 2-mile hilly walk around a road loop in our rural south Salem neighborhood. The thermometer tells me it's about 94 degrees.
But it can't tell me if that's hot.
Hot is subjective. Temperature is objective.
The difference explains why I'm often asked by a Starbucks employee, when the temperature gets over 80 in our part of Oregon, if I want my grande decaf nonfat vanilla latte iced or hot.
I try not to sound too heat-superior when I reply, "Why, hot of course. I don't believe in drinking an iced coffee no matter what the temperature is."
Sometimes I add, "I grew up in a California town where it often was over 100 degrees in the summer, so the temperature here in the Willamette Valley doesn't bother me much."
Now, that town was Three Rivers.
It lived up to its name with three forks of the Kaweah River running through different parts of Three Rivers. So along with the summer heat came summer swimming -- a nice blend of temperature yin and yang.
I'm not sure whether my current tolerance for 90+ degree days stems more from psychological or physical factors. Maybe both.
Regardless, my theory -- which I readily admit may have no scientific foundation -- is that whatever climate we grew used to as a child leads us to be more comfortable with that sort of climate as an adult.
So when I went for that two-mile walk today, 72 year old me in Oregon was reliving part of the experience of 12 year old me in California.
Feeling the hot air rising from the road and adjacent fields, I certainly was reminded of similar sensations when I walked or biked around Three Rivers. It felt natural to be walking along on a hot asphalt road, like I'd done this many times before.
Which, of course, I did in my youthful years.
It also isn't out of the realm of possibility that thanks to evolution, stresses in the early years of our life -- extreme cold or heat, for example -- cause our body to become adapted to those circumstances, making it easier for us to deal with similar situations in our adult life.
That said, it looks like we've got another string of 90 degree days coming after a respite in the 80s tomorrow, Wednesday, and Thursday.
My inner child may be fine with that, but my old man self wishes it wasn't going to be so damn hot.