June 17th, 2004

Humidity

As Seattleites know, in the summer, it is dry. The lawn dies. Sometimes there are limits on washing the car or watering the lawn and water conservation is urged, especially if the snowpack the previous winter wasn't what it might have been. This is at odds with the Emerald City, Rain City image, so those who haven't lived in Seattle are often startled to learn this. Occasionally (for about a week or ten days a year, usually in late August or early September), it gets up in the 90s in Seattle. When it does, it is invariably dry.

The rest of the year, Seattleites of the less sophisticated classes talk about Oregon mist (as in, it missed Oregon and hit us): a light slightly more than fog, slightly less than actual rain as perceived by people not from the Pacific Northwest form of precipitation. When this happens, humidity will be high and those locals who are very assiduous about avoiding the sun joke about their moss (that is, as opposed to their tan).

This is normal, as far as I'm concerned, because I'm from Seattle. I knew, from visiting the South (west and east) that the rest of the world wasn't necessarily quite the same. That is, other places have warm rain (ha! no, really), that falls at rates up to and above 3 inches an hour. At the time of year this might happen, average humidity tends to be double digit, with the first digit greater than 7. Ouch. By contrast in the winter, the humidity will drop nearly to zero. Which is just as well, because if it were any higher, the ice would be worse. As it is, ice on the ground sublimates into the dry air.

Here in New Hampshire, it is still bug season, but also the season of thunderstorms, 80+% humidity and 80+ degrees temperature. Think, huge masses of crankitude just oozing off of me. I am not a pleasant person to be around. I have a dozen or more bug bites (mostly mosquito, but one blackfly bite under my arm). Every time I try weeding, I get a few more. I'm bloated. I'm hot. I'm having trouble thinking. And I'm worried about all the weight I seem to be gaining, and if I'm going to have to buy a different wedding dress.

In my saner moments, I know this is all water, and a quick slug of unsweetened cranberry juice would suck it right out of me. But it's hot and it's muggy and I'm not sane very often.

Cycling is nice, because one generates a breeze even when there isn't one, and then of course the bugs have a hard time keeping up (RHI the deerflies can fly fast enough. Roland says they are not common. If they start biting me, I'm staying indoors for the next two months. And getting whole house airconditioning.). Roland kindly installed the other window air conditioner in the office so I can actually get things done (or at least enjoy wasting time).

Today, however, presented an interesting dilemma. After lunch with my friend Christina, I wanted to go down to the Nashua River Rail Trail. But it looked a lot like rain. Hard rain, maybe with special effects. Christina thought this was a bad idea (sensible woman); Roland thought I should park in the middle so I'd never be too far from the car. I just went down and parked at the north end as always and headed south. I got almost to Groton Center before it really opened up (7.3 miles for those keeping track), then beat it on home. It was a nice ride, but I was soaked at the end of it, my glasses and helmet both dripping water. Yet I was not cold. Well, not until I got in the car and noticed the AC was still cranked up. Or down. Or however one chooses to describe that.

In unrelated news, after limping along on a nearly dead Treo for several months, I'm finally replacing it with a combination of a PDA (Tungsten C, the one with WiFi) and cell phone -- a Samsung, if it ever arrives. Amazon has once again proved it is the Best Retail Entity Ever. I asked for SuperSaver shipping on the PDA, which I ordered the same day as I ordered the phone from Circuit City's partner. The PDA (SuperSaver shipping) arrived in 2 days. The phone has not yet arrived (I think I ordered it Tuesday, with 2nd day air delivery). Unfortunately, I couldn't order the phone through Amazon, as the only service that works where I live is Verizon Wireless.

The PDA is quite fine, however.