Mark Hunter (ozma914) wrote,
Mark Hunter

column: It's Not the Heat, It's the Humidity


When I saw the Weather Channel forecast of over 100 degree for northeast Indiana, I thought to myself, “Gee – maybe I should take the cover off the air conditioner”.
I’m still working on why the Weather Channel forecasts are always a few degrees higher than those of local news stations. At first I thought it might be their global warming push, but that wouldn’t explain why during winter the WC forecasts always seem cooler. A love of extremes might be involved: People don’t tune in to a 24 hour weather network on nice, calm days.
Still, going from the century mark to the high 90’s doesn’t exactly force us into long flannel underwear, does it? Well, maybe me.
I have a reputation for hating cold, which is well deserved. As a result, a lot of people think I love the heat. Isn’t it just like this country, that everyone is assumed to prefer an extreme? How about a little moderation, people?
I choose the moderate tropical shores of Hawaii, just as soon as I get that six figure book deal. No, I am not packing my bags.
Given no other choice, I’ll take too hot over too cold any day. In the summer, I can find ways to cool down: Air conditioning, sticking ice down my pants, looking at a photo of Nancy Pelosi. In wintertime I just can’t seem to ever get warm enough.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s some mechanical problem at work, where it’s colder than a polar bear’s feet, making it impossible for me to acclimate to the outside temperature. I think my Hell would be a place where it’s constantly cold, the only thing to eat is liver and onions, and there’s nothing to listen to but Joe Biden campaign speeches.
For those who hate the heat, that’s cold comfort.
I thought of this yesterday when I noticed a book I’d left in my car had burst into flames. You know how much I hate burning books. If we really want to harness alternative energy, why can’t we find a way to turn the inside of a car into an electric generator? And on a related note, how much water could we save by siphoning air conditioner drains right back into water treatment plants? We need to think outside the box. ‘Cause people, it’s hot inside that box.
But it’s all relative, isn’t it?
I work with a guy who’s never worn a coat. Never. It’s minus ten in January, and he walks in the door wearing a short sleeve shirt. I can only conclude he’s a Canadian spy, helping prepare the way to invade North Dakota, where it’s warmer.
You can be sure that when I complain about the cold, people in Quebec are scoffing (in French). “You think you’re cold?” (You have to imagine this in a French accent.) “I once had to chop the yellow ice away to free my French poodle from a fire hydrant! Eh?”
This explains why Canadian poodles get so very nervous.
Last summer I spent a week in southeast Missouri during a heat wave. My fiancée warned me, before going swimming in a river, to make sure the water wasn’t boiling. For lunch people would scoop the cooked fish up in asbestos nets. Air conditioners would run away to Iowa. Several people reported their cars being stolen, only to realize they’d melted. Politicians would burst into flames before opening their mouths.
Whenever I mentioned it was hot, Missourians smiled knowingly and said, “You’re not from around here, are you?”
The mercury still didn’t reach as high as in desert areas, where thermometers have been known to explode. There are places in the southwest where the temperature gets higher than the national debt (speaking of which, I wonder what the weather’s like in China?), and so dry that trees chase dogs around. “But it’s a dry heat,” people will say.
Yeah, but so was my last attempt to bake something, and that’ll kill you, too.
Still, they have a point. Desert dwellers correctly point out that 100 degrees is 100 degrees, regardless of the humidity, but that’s comparing apples to – no, that’s comparing raisons to prunes. Any temperature that begins with a one is pretty bad. However, 90 degrees in the desert doesn’t feel nearly as bad as 90 degrees in the Midwest, where several near-drownings have been reported when people got into their cars without rolling down the windows first.
That’s where the heat index reading came from. Experts say the heat index is a way of showing what it feels like outside, just as the wind chill factor show what it would feel like if you foolishly exposed your skin to a breeze on that previously mentioned January day.
That’s part of it; but the main reason the heat index was invented was to have something to throw back at those people who live in dry climates:
“Oh, sure, it may be 99 degrees there; but it feels like 102 degrees here, so we’ve got you beat!”
For some reason people love to brag about their extremes of weather, as if there was reason to be happy about it. Do you know what I call people who proudly live in International Falls, Minnesota, and brag it’s the “Icebox of the Nation”?
Nuts. Frozen nuts.
Those would quickly thaw out and become roast nuts in Phoenix, which is named after a bird that burned up.
I think we should let go of this attempt to outdo ourselves on the bad stuff, and just accept that, as in so many other areas, moderation is the way to go. That was the point I started out to make, I think. I could go back and double check, but … it’s just too hot.
Tags: column, new era, slightly off the mark, weather

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