us fair-weather children
On Wednesday, 6/8, I flew to Miami, Florida. We landed at around 10.30pm. I had no luggage. So I dashed out and looked to exit the terminal. The automatic doors opened and I stepped out. I stepped out to about 90F and 100% humidity. I’d forgotten that I’d parked my shades on my head, and I took’em off, to notice that they had gotten fogged up. And suddenly, I felt really nostalgic.
I grew up in a tiny island in the Arabian Gulf, called Bahrain. The apparent temperature in Bahrain during the summer reaches about, oh, let’s see 52 degrees Celsius (125.6F). Which is apparently the maximum measurable temperature (or so we were told). The weather person really had a dull job during the summer months – on the news she’d say, “umm, 52C during the day, 52C at night, 100% humidity, and ummm, yeah, stay indoors”. If you parked your car outside during the summer months, and not in a garage, there were good chances that your steering wheel, the seats and anything else you’d left in your car would melt. We’d joke that you could fry stuff on the hood of an idle car that was left outside. If you actually had to get outside and drive somewhere during the day, and your car was parked outside, here’s what you had to do – you had to get a remote control installed in your car to remotely start it up and turn the air-conditioning on about 15 minutes before you wanted to start driving. I’d told my friend’s younger brother that collecting bottle caps was cool, so, I used to give the kid caps from Pepsi bottles to have him go start our car up and turn the air-conditioning on before I jumped in. Turns out Pepsi had some promotions running and the kid ended up winning a radio (yeah, woo-hoo an FM radio), but kids get amused so easily. I’ve also spent a lot of time in Bombay (which is where I’m ORIGINALLY from). Bombay was no different weather-wise. Just a bazillion more people. A bazillion more people who all wanted to get to wherever they were going really really fast. A bazillion more people who all wanted to get to wherever they were going really really fast not really knowing WHY they needed to get there so quickly.
So, when I stepped out of the airport terminal in Miami, it reminded me of home. What added to the effect was the binary temperature control I had in my hotel room. It could either be set at 50F or be turned off. Which means I either froze, or the humidity in the air would osmosize (?) and permeate through my skin to make me a blob of water. On the evening of the 9th of June, my colleagues and I decided to get out and work really hard (in a bar in south beach). We were witnessing early signs of Arlene as it was raining sporadically and winds were about 25mph strong. But the temperature was still around 80F. I loved it! It reminded me of the early signs of the monsoons in Bombay.
I realized how spoiled I’d gotten living here in the SF bay area. We here are truly fair-weather children. It gets a little chilly here during the winter. And we have maybe, what, one week when the temperatures hit 100F (in the south bay)? On most days (> 70% in a year), I can walk out in a t-shirt and shorts. And I wouldn’t even break a sweat. You’d argue that you could walk out in a t-shirt and shorts in Florida, but then I’d argue that you’d be over-dressed <smiley face>
I think its time I made a resolution (which means I’d breaking my old resolution which was to not make any more resolutions, but this one’s overdue, its warranted, and hey you’re not the boss of me :P) I need to visit Miami more often. And I need to learn Spanish.