Thursday, September 3, 2015
Living on the sun
My frequent travels to Florida to visit family don’t help. Snowbirds – people who migrate to Florida during the cold winter months back home – actually get some wonderfully livable weather. Me? Too many August trips have tipped the balance. All I seem to get is intense heat, which brings intense storms, followed by more intense heat.
The way I see it, the Florida summer is like living on the sun. I realize I might have a different perception if I were lying on the beach sipping margaritas. Instead, I’m usually doing work around the house or running errands.
Too many times I’ve left my water bottle in the car while dashing into the grocery store. What I return to is boiling water fit for a tea bag. By the time the car air conditioning gets up to speed, I’m back in the garage. I rarely get a chance to blast the cold air anyway, because I’m usually driving with my mother. With her thinned Florida blood, she starts shivering at 75 degrees.
Summers in the Philadelphia area can be scorchers, too, but at least I can count on changing seasons to bring relief. When I’m prepared to sweat – while running, practicing yoga, or exercising in some other way – heat is a bothersome but short-term discomfort. It’s when I’m dressed for some occasion, or fresh from a shower, that I pine for air conditioning.
I’ve been to Arizona, where the lie of dry heat being easier to handle is exposed. Hot is hot, whether dry or humid. There may be less frizz to hairstyles, but it can still feel like standing in a giant oven.
When the temperatures hit the 90s, I become the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz. I look green, and I frequently cry, “I’m melting, melting.”
In Florida, I just get condescending looks because this is exactly the weather that attracts vacationers and retirees. The locals say you get used to the heat. The experts say it takes about two weeks to acclimatize to hot weather. I say, on the whole, I’d rather be in Philadelphia.