Search This Blog

Follow by Email

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Quit yer complainin' about the heat, will ya?

I don’t mind the heat. When I lived in Taiwan, I became accustomed to packing another complete outfit to change into once I got to my air conditioned office, because I would be soaked with sweat after a forty-five minute walk in 40+ degree heat and humidity that made it feel over 50. I had my hair straightened every six months so I wouldn’t have to deal with frizz every morning. The bus schedules were erratic and unreliable at best. Sometimes you would be waiting at a bus stop and you would see the bus coming but it couldn’t effectively merge across the four lanes of traffic (on a two-lane street), so it just didn’t bother. You’d be standing there under the bus stop sign, hopelessly and helplessly waving your bus pass…one day a man came up to me just then and asked, “hey lady. How do I say this word in Engrish?” He held up three fingers. “Three,” I said, annoyed. “As in, three buses have passed me so far.” He watched my mouth closely and mimicked my speech as I pronounced it over and over again for him. Impromptu English lessons were a regular occurrence in public transit settings.

In Taiwan, the weather office regularly broadcast air quality warnings, much like we do in Canada for frostbite. Instead of “skin will freeze in 5 minutes”, we got “exposure to the air for more than 5 minutes will cause severe breathing problems”. If I went more than 5 minutes between air conditioned taxi, bus, subway or building, I knew I would be up half the night coughing. We called it “the Taipei crud.” The sky over the city of Taipei in summer was orange. I remember driving into the city of Paris one morning and thinking that the smog hanging over that city was impressive. Paris has nothing on Taipei as far as smog is concerned.

So, I got used to the heat. Some people say your blood actually thins when you live in a tropical climate. All I know is, when I came home to Canada each August, I was absolutely freezing. I wore hoodies and sweatpants while everyone else was in summer gear.

It is hot in Canada this summer, yes indeed. I do spend most of my time in an air conditioned house or studio. I prefer the a/c off, but I have allergies to pollen so it does help to keep me from sneezing. But when I have to be outside for any length of time, I must admit, I don’t mind the heat. Sweating is good for ya.

The lack of rainfall is a bit of a problem. Our pasture fields are bitten so low by the livestock, they look like felt. The horse keeps trying to push her way into the stable, because she seems to think it will be cooler in there. Walking into the barn, I immediately prove her wrong. “Misty. It’s ten degrees cooler in here.” She just likes to be in her stable stall, away from the flies and the fat, fluffy sheep who get under her feet and trip her up.

Grass has not grown back in this dry spell. My Rose of Sharon, hostas, phlox and coneflowers are suffering a bit right now. I water them every second night after the heat of the sun. When you drive down our road, the marshy low area is so dry, the swamp gases almost knock you unconscious. The smell of a thousand skunks almost cause you to drive off the road.

Yes it’s dry. And hot. But just imagine – in a few months’ time, we will be complaining about the cold. As you sit sweltering in your apartment without air conditioning think of this: sooner than you know, snow will be softly falling outside your window. The cold will tighten the skin on your cheeks, make your eyes water and your teeth hurt.

We love to talk about weather in Canada. I have never met anyone who talks about weather more than a Canadian. It almost defines us as a culture, perhaps because our weather can be so extreme.

A few years ago, we were complaining about constant rain all summer. If you aren’t a farmer who has lost his crop, what are you complaining about? Enjoy. Who knows what we’ll get next year?

No comments: