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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

97... ugh

Today's forecast high is 97. If achieved, it would tie the record for May 31 in Raleigh set in 1953. 

I have grown to dislike hot weather... and that's remarkable because I grew up in largely un-airconditioned homes in central Alabama. Sometime around the eighth grade my parents installed A/C in their home, but I often spent summers at my grandparents' dairy farm. Their farmhouse never got A/C. My grandmother lived there until she was 96, when she had to enter a nursing home that was, thankfully, air-conditioned. 

How did people on the farm survive? They drank water, they stayed out of the sun whenever possible, they built porches around several sides of their houses to catch a breeze from whatever direction, they avoided activity between 2 and 4 in the afternoon, and they used fans. I wonder, what happened to my grandparents' Emerson fans?

When I entered Georgia Tech in June 1972, the dorm was not air-conditioned. These days colleges and universities must market their residence halls as attractive places to live. Ha! Georgia Tech's freshman dorms were essentially an army barracks. By the time I became a sophomore, I had made some friends who got me into their recently modernized (and A/C-equipped) dorm suite. Later I got used to working in large computer rooms in which the prevailing temperature was 55-60, and I lost my acclimatization to hot weather... an uncomfortable fact, given that the first house Gail and I bought when we married was only partly air-conditioned. I remedied that a year later. Except for a few hotel rooms in Europe during the summer, I've been comfortably cool since. 

Sometimes I think -- or, more accurately, fantasize -- about retiring on the Oregon coastline where average summer temperatures are in the upper 60s and highs above 80 are rare. That sounds nice.