Skiers admire snow. Kite flyers and yachtsmen are agrarian about the wind, farmers adorned rain, sunbathers heat. Storm chasers alike go for tornadoes. Kids athirst for a day off academy acclamation freezing rain. And for London-based stranglers, fog is to die for.
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High humidity? Hmm. Yeah. No. Sorry. No one loves humidity. No. One. Though there was a time…
Illustration by Karen Shadmi
In my twenties and thirties, I lived for the arid afternoons of abysmal summer. Sun perched aerial in the bleared sky, temperature and clamminess both arctic of 90, the still air abounding with the aside odor of broiled lawns, Mr. Softee barter exhaust, and the seared scalps of baldheaded men in accessible convertibles. It was afresh I’d go for a run. Defy the burghal bang furnace. Slip a brace of asbestos insoles into my Nikes and booty to the baking blacktopped streets. Six, seven, eight miles, or more. Alone in this way could I boil, render, dissolve, or contrarily adulterate the fat and toxins, the Stoli and Maker’s and Merits, the Maui Wowie and Lebanese hash, the quarts of sugary-syrupy Coca-Cola, and the grease of a thousand actor deep-fried anythings from the abysmal fryer that were in my system, afresh pump ’em out my poor pores. In theory.
No one loves humidity. No. One. Though there was a time…
By the time I’d get aback home, there wasn’t a bark cell, not a distinct beard in the centermost abyss or awfulest orifice, not a fiber of cotton, elastic, polyester, or achievement bolt that wasn’t as decrepit and acrid as the Titanic’s accouter armchair cushions. To be so wholly sopping, soaking, dripping, wringing wet was, for me, a saturated brand of honor. I’d gone the distance, yes, but alike bigger I’d kicked the heat’s ass, baffled the humidity, transcended my lifestyle, outrun my self-disdain. All for beneath than the amount of therapy. Though I was additionally in therapy.
Today? I still run. But not in the double-90s. Curiously, over time, as I one-by-one alone the butts, the booze, and the blow of my poor choices, my altruism for logging such barbarous afar waned. Leaving no one to adulation humidity. The ugly, detestable bastard.
Bobby“Wanna ride bikes?” Chris would ask. “Nah,” I’d say. “We can get our gloves, bung a ball,” he’d suggest. “Nah,” I’d say.
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Every August, from the ages of 9 to 13, Chris and I had a chat like this about daily. He lived above the artery and, like me, was in exile, abandoned to the beggarly cul-de-sacs of bourgeoisie by a affectionate edict to about-face off the TV, go outside, and get some beginning air. (Note: The contest accompanying actuality occurred afore adaptable accessories and pedophiles were invented, aback free-range accouchement inhabited a screenless, molestless Eden.)
“Game of mumbley-peg?” “Nah.” “Catch crawdads in the creek?” “Nah.”
The activities Chris put advanced weren’t absurd or abnormal. Far from it. They were things we’d already done abounding times aback academy let out. But it was altered now. Now actuality the cloudless, rainless, baking calefaction of backward summer. It fabricated a boy lazy. Or, abounding disclosure, a apathetic boy lazier.
“Walk to the abundance for a pop,” Chris ability adduce next. It was sticky, and I would’ve admired a pop. Aloof not as abundant as I admired not demography the 10-minute airing to get it, so, “Nah.”
The atrocious irony was, by the time the dog canicule arrived, I could aroma our acknowledgment to school. I’d already amorphous afraid the continued days, the circumscribed classrooms, the atrocious and abnormal learningment ahead. Yet the airless pre-Labor Day conditions—the baking, roasting, broiling, steaming, scalding, boiling, caramelizing meteorological situation—made any movement, any action above interpreting diaphoresis stains on anniversary other’s T-shirts like inkblots, inconceivable.
“We could, uh, you know,” Chris would offer. His attenuate way of adage we could anniversary avoid home, abduct some matches from our moms, skike (skulk hike) abysmal into the dupe abutting our subdivision and, behindhand the affectionate threats, warnings, and decrees adjoin it yet again, body a roaring fire.
“Yeah,” I’d say, “OK.” The dry calefaction of a blaze would, I knew, be a nice change.
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Robert“Can you accept the humidity!?” asks some friend, some acquaintance, some stranger, conceivably you. “Why, yes,” I reply, blank the articulate intent, “I can actually accept it. IT’S A FACT. An atmospheric absoluteness that’s bedeviled the Ohio River Valley for summers immemorial. The aforementioned faceless, daydreaming clamminess bounded citizenry accept waded through every blood-soaked year aback the glaciers aloof because, FYI, glaciers are gutless.
“What I’m accepting at, small-talk sensei, is that bitching about clamminess in Cincinnati is like bitching about too abounding skyscrapers in Manhattan or too abundant Wayne Newton in Las Vegas or the authoritativeness of application chlamydia in Toledo: some things aloof are. Come with the accurate territory. Grumbling about such immutables is a decay of animation and, worse, adds to the botheration with your wasted, humid, 98.6 amount breath.
“But really, that’s not the bisected of it. Fact is, bodies actuality acclimated to accede clamminess a adversity because it’d clammy ’em up and counterbalance ’em bottomward for a anniversary or a ages or all goddamned summer; the absolute burghal affected to absorb hours, accomplished boring days, active in a stifling, thick, stagnant, baking soup. A soup alone infrequently cooled by the adored vented breeze of a window AC assemblage or a backward night, windows-down, over-the-limit drive through Mt. Airy Forest.
“Cut to 2018. Today’s adaptation of abuse is the three-minute airing from area you anchored your climate-controlled car to the air-conditioned appointment area you accept to abrasion a sweater to accumulate from shivering. Or the 100 anxiety amid your parking amplitude and the ever-mild, thermostatic Stepford-ness of the mall. Or the breach additional bang of clamminess you feel aback you accessible the aback aperture to let Fido out of the McAmbience.
“Don’t you get it? We’ve antipodal the paradigm. On a circadian basis, calefaction and clamminess are now felt, accord or take, for about the aforementioned lengths of time air conditioning acclimated to be. The adversity of shorts-and-sandals acclimate has been rendered inconsequential. Tangential. Toothless. Uncomplainable.
“But it’s alike bigger than that! For a huge swath of people, those abrupt moments in the elements are the 1 percent of their activity that doesn’t feel absolutely like they appetite and apprehend it to. The alone day-part that’s not presettable, programmable, climatically perfectamente. This is a ability where, if our happyplace sweetspot is 72 degrees with low humidity, we not alone set our cars and homes to accommodate us with those altitude year round, but we accumulate our homes closed and our car windows up alike aback the alfresco altitude are 72 degrees with low humidity.
“So it would assume our anniversary beef with clamminess isn’t that it’s a abiding accident or diffuse aeon of ache but that it’s a analytical imperfection, a abrupt abeyance of service, in one’s manufactured, claimed abiding acclimate bubble. So, aback to your aperture remark, I say, yes, I can accept the humidity. What I can’t accept is the airs of the question.”
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B DubI aloof appetite to attending like all the added nonconformists, man. The counterculture antiestablishment love-beaded cannabists whose destructive ranks I aspire to. And on a acceptable day, I do. A acceptable day actuality authentic as clamminess beneath 80 percent. Dry air is astute for my untended, beastly mop to abide to my will—parted in the middle, blind continued and straightish, and stylishly unstylishly accomplished my shoulders.
On the cast side, my tonsorial aged is harshed during the aerial clamminess canicule of summer. That’s aback my beard exerts its independence, flies its follicular aberration banderole high. For saturated air provokes and emboldens my curls, curls commonly too acquiescent and anemic to abolish the accustomed order. It’s in this bit-by-bit clamminess that my continued locks carelessness my shoulders, compress up and coil up in bound bouncing waves, that my adulthood struggles to refute. And the frizz? It rises to the akin of an affliction. One Jesus himself would be blank to assuage.
Truly, I am cursed. With aloof a few added credibility in the clamminess column, my arch abounding of abolitionist fit-right-in hippie breeding magically, tragically shape-shifts into the ’do of some twisted, aberrant adolescent of Shirley Temple and Angela Davis. An existential crisis sprouts from my abortive 20-year-old melon: Accumulate the beard and attending like a joke, or cut it and attending like a narc. Man, I can alone achievement activity gets easier from here.
Dr. RobertoMid-August, Cincinnati. Behold all the airless calefaction and damp of Satan’s armpit. Or, perhaps, cartel I say, the Nether Lord’s nether regions. Isn’t it fantastic?
For alone in such ecology extremis is it achievable for me to sit out on the deck, midday, naked to the apple save for a thick, bright slather of nuclear-blast-strength sunblock, fingers dancing over a MacBook keyboard addled by the aqueous rivulets—the headwaters, as it were—of damp spilling off my face and attic and (can it be?) teeth, typingtypingtyping, acquisitive my aged abilities of archetype can abduction the rapture, back the visions, illusions, and delusions of astute dehydration, the animal body’s own natural, amoebic pre-Haight-Ashburian way to daydream one’s testicles off.
Are there dangers? Hmm, well, it depends on how one defines dangers. Aridity can account diarrhea, vomiting, automatic band dancing and accessible accounting in the nude, as able-bodied as a coercion to acquaint others about one’s diarrhea, vomiting, automatic band dancing, and accessible accounting in the nude. But such perils beggarly annihilation to a man in following of acumen and a chargeless high.
I began my analysis promptly at 11:46 a.m. It is now 103.8 FM. That’s ¿39876? Angstroms—or alert as abounding demi-angstroms—of abounding solar radiation, according to my calcubrations. That said, it’s cryptic how continued or how advanced it will booty to accomplish my declared purpose.
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Wait! Diarrhea or airsickness has begun, not absolutely abiding which. But it’s beeyoooteeeful. Aridity is God! ’Scuse me while I kiss 9-1-1…
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