Hot stuff

Posted: July 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

Dressed in a leather bodice over a double-layer floor-length skirt complete with a tankard and pistol, Kat Kingsley, 28, a tour guide at King’s Chapel, prepared for her performance as Loyalist sympathizer Baroness Agnes Franklin. (COLM O’MOLLOY FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE)

Allow me to extend to my few (many?) readers a sincere apology for the utter lack of content on this blog since the week of April 15, 2013. It’s been a few months befitting the life of a lunatic – in-laws have been staying with us, a few other guests here and there, and in the midst of it all we are working on a big move to a new home in Malden.

But, before I launch into a new tirade about the summer heat, allow me to extend to you a promise. A promise that, unlike the usual nuptial vow, shall not be broken. I will attempt – nay, I INTEND to – write a blog post on Massachusetts culture on a regular basis. I’ve worked hard to put together top-5 lists – as per the online, short-attention-span dictum – and many of them have been immensely popular. I’ve written a very tongue-in-cheek piece about the driving culture of Massachusetts and how drastically different it is from road life on the west coast of Canada, and I’ve also written about one of my most memorable live sports experiences after my wife bought us tickets to go to the Boston Bruins-Montreal Canadiens grudge match at TD Garden earlier this year. That post, to this day, remains the most popular on this site, by a long shot.

Now, it’s summertime. It’s seven shades hotter in the daytime here – on a regular basis, too – than it has ever been in Vancouver. Honestly, the hottest summers I’ve ever had the pleasure (or sweature?) to experience were probably in Kiev, Ukraine, and a short spell in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

I just want to begin by saying to Roosevelt E. Roosevelt, what it is, what it shall be, what it was. The weather out there today is hot and shitty with continued hot and shitty in the afternoon. Tomorrow a chance of continued crappy with a pissy weather front coming down from the north. Basically, it’s hotter than a snake’s ass in a wagon rut.

– Robin Williams, Good Morning Vietnam

Normally, in Vancouver, the mercury will hover around the 20C mark – that’s about 70F for the Fahrenheit crowd – and more often than not, it’ll cool down enough at nighttime that you’ll want to pull on a light sweater or long pants. Yes, in the deepest of summer, too. There are times, though, where the temperature does get a little ridiculous – but even then, it’s still only high 20s (or low 80s), which is excaberated by the fact that there’s rarely any air conditioning of any kind on the West Coast.

Why’s that, you ask? Well, because usually we don’t need it.

Now, over to a Massachusetts summer. About three weeks ago, the climate gods decided to unleash hellfire upon the good people of this state – and likely the states all around the area too. Well, on the entire United States and Canada, in fact. The whole bloody continent – oh, damn, Mexico too – was slapped with a sweltering heat wave. Death Valley in California famously recorded a temperature of above 50C, and could well have been the hottest it’s ever been in recorded human history.

I will now just sit down and let the climate-change experts stand up and make their statements. Whether they’re right or wrong, you have to admit it’s hard to argue with them. There is something absolutely freakin’ bizarre going on here.

Back to my monologue. Three weeks ago, the temperature went up to the high 30s – or close to 100F – and, well, it wasn’t very comfortable for any of us. It was tough on the body because we couldn’t just go for a nice walk anywhere. The air was hot. When the wind blew, it wasn’t cooling. It was like walking through a blast furnace. And then we’d go inside and get throttled by the ice-cold air conditioning, which is nice sometimes, but not all that nice when it takes all the moisture out of the air. It just wreaks havoc on your whole system.

(A quick note – I just learned now that the last time Boston had above-90-degree weather for five successive days was in 1990. Perhaps something wacky is indeed going on here.)

After a short spell in which the temperature dipped down to the mid-20s – or high 70s – it was quite nice. But I just couldn’t imagine that mid-20s would be a really wonderful, hot summer day in Vancouver. It felt more like a cool day in Massachusetts.

Allow me to enter a small aside: Many years ago, a couple of Brazilians came to Victoria, B.C., just across the water from Vancouver. We took them swimming at the local swim centre, with waterslides and the like. The weather was some 18-20C – high 60s, low 70s – and we thought it perfect swimming weather. But our poor Brazilians were shivering as if it was wintertime. I thought it was cute and funny at the time. But now, I really understand. It’s weird how your body adapts and gets used to the sweltering summer heat, and then when you’re walloped by low 20s weather, you find it kind of cold. Well, then.

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