The local temperature reached a crillion degrees yesterday, setting an all-time record high for Seattle and tying the record in several other cities around here. Actually, I think the official high reported by the weather station at Sea-Tac was 103°F, although Cliff Mass’ weather blog has lit up with comments about much higher temperatures reported by people’s car thermometers, measurements he has encouraged his readers to regard with a view to the added heat sweltering up from paved surfaces. Today we expect to set 99°F as a day-record for July 30th.
I just wanted to chime in and say “I was here”. It’s a wonderful thing to be part of an event that the whole city is experiencing and celebrating, especially since the building I work in has a well-functioning HVAC system. In fact it functions so well that even on hot days I often don my fleece while sitting at my desk, and it actually felt good (for a few minutes) to step outside for the walk down Western Avenue to my once-or-twice-monthly lunch at Planet Java Diner on Washington Street, a kitchy and air-conditioned establishment whose proprietor Patty and her daughter Ashleigh know me well enough to know I’ll probably order the Barbecue Burger, a crisp green salad, a cuppa decaf and my own little steel creamer of real half-and-half.* You can see I wasn’t suffering.
However, later in the afternoon when I left the office, the heat struck me like a heap of quilts. It was as though I were a bee and someone had suddenly put a large drinking glass over me and sucked all the air out. Even so, the worst of it for me was the bus ride home, and that’s mercifully short.
Home was painless because we have air conditioning. It came with the house. I don’t really like AC as an idea. We never had any AC around here growing up, not in houses anyway. You just sat on the sprinkler or found a leafy bower to hunker down in, or flopped in front of a fan. It seems bizarre to be shivering in my house on the day Seattle is setting an all-time heat record, to be putting on wool socks while thousands perish on the sidewalks beyond the large, closed front windows.
Maybe I exaggerate, but I just don’t feel completely comfortable being disconnected from what’s “really going on” out there. On the other hand, Angela has had several neighborhood moms and their kidly retinues over during these hot days, and those refugees from older, AC-less homes have been grateful for the respite from their cauldrons. Saving Wallingford lives we are, one BTU at a time.
*unless I get the French Toast Combo instead, swapping out the bacon for a heap o’ hash browns.