On Wednesday, Seattle reached a record high temperature of 104 degrees. What this means is that we’ve all spontaneously combusted and no one is left here but the Southern and Eastern State transplants who have been screeching about how this isn’t hot weather, no, it’s not hot until you sweat fire.
Naturally, Seattle is completely unprepared for weather events like this. That’s why whenever a significant weather pattern approaches, we name it. Hanukkah Eve Windstorm ’07, Shitstorm ’04, Snowstorm ’08, Minor Heat Wave ’09. Janie’s work actually SHUT DOWN for a couple of days because there is no air conditioning in some of the older library branches and those poor librarians might get sweaty and die because it gets to a sweltering 90+ degrees. So instead of working in that heat, she sat at home in it with our three miserable cats who were so hot they became totally insane and peed all over the kitchen table WHERE WE EAT DINNER when there is nothing good on TV.
This winter, as I have previously mentioned, we had a horrid snowstorm that dumped several feet of disgusting whore snow all over town and since we’re only accustomed to rain, sleet, hail and our usual protective cloud cover, this was a tragedy. Buses did not run or, when they did, crashed through the railing and dangled precariously over the freeway with busloads of children, cars were crashing, people had to walk to the grocery store and back, uphill both ways with tennis shoes because the only people with snow boots are the people who hike and none of them live anywhere near my neighborhood. It’s so weird for extreme weather conditions to come visit Seattle that when they do, people lose all common sense. Several entire families died this past December because they were heating up their homes with gas generators and barbecues left running with the windows and door sealed shut.
Now that it’s summer and suddenly this giant glowing orb in the sky is shooting fire at our delicately pale skin that crackles when it reaches degrees upward of 65, people are shitting themselves. Never mind that we usually have a few days of unbearable heat nearly every summer. Never mind that we bought fans and air conditioners last time this happened during Mercury’s Rising Past 72 Degrees ’07, because apparently people sold them on Craigslist to our friends in Portland when the clouds rolled back in four days later, because every year, when the thermometer ticks past 80, there is a run on fans and a/c units like you have never seen in your life. Every store was sold out of everything remotely resembling a fan or cooling device – sunscreen, cold water, ice, manual fans, brita filters, wintergreen Tic Tacs, you name it, it was flying of the shelves. When Target or Costco got shipments of several hundred fans, they’d sell out in minutes like they were Michael Jackson Back from the Dead concert tickets. Burglars left plasma televisions and Wii consoles and stole FanBlaster 400’s from homes throughout the county and black markets sprung up on the outskirts of town where desperate people could pick up the stolen fans for curiously low prices or pay hookers to blow delicately on their cheeks. Hotels were selling out because people needed cool air and access to a swimming pool, no matter the cost and despite that fact that we’re in the midst of a cripping recession. It’s The Sun Caused Me To Blister 2009 (Never Forget) and unless you let me check in I could die. I COULD DIE!
Throughout all of this, while Janie sat sweating at home, I sat in my office with the air conditioner on full blast. Coworkers who usually arrived by 10am and noon were at their desks by 9:00 to escape the oppressive heat. I had to wear a sweater to work every day because it was cold, but as soon as I walked to the car, the heavy and humid heat burned holes in the fabric and singed my eyebrows.
Normally I’m no friend of the heat. I usually get headaches and cry a lot. Sometimes I whine and complain until I pass out or Janie punches me in the face. This year, however, has been different. I like to think it’s that we just returned from Vegas where 100+ degrees is normal and the acclimation followed me home in preparation for these record highs. Whatever it is, I’ve been totally fine, feeling energized and good despite the puckering of my delicate white skin when the sunlight touches it. In fact, as I woke up this morning and the sky was filled with clouds and the thermometer only read 60 degrees, I felt diappointed. Maybe it was because the notable weather is something we share and go through together as a community. For several days we get to engage in a common conversation about how fucking hot it is inside our house right now instead of talking about how shitty the Mariners are or why won’t you take your shirt off anymore, Janie? And today, even as the clouds have parted and the sun is shining and it’s rumored to be reach 80+ degrees, nothing seems as glorious as those two miserable days earlier this week when we made the national news because someone died by suffocation when they fell alseep while their car was running in a sealed garage so they could enjoy the cool beeze of the air conditioner for the very last time.