We are having our own heat wave Montana-style, 80’s in the day and 40’s or even a few high 30’s at night. Yesterday the humidity here was 10%, desert dry. I personally think it is too hot and miserable, but know it could be much worse.
I grew up in the Midwest and my family still lives there. In the last few days they have been having a summer heat wave. The temperatures are in the high 90’s and low 100’s. The humidity isn’t far behind. Nights bring them no true relieve as it is still well into the 70’s all night long. They now have some formula call heat index, which is the summer equivalent of windchill. Everyone knows in this kind of heat they are miserable, and knowing that it feels a few degrees warmer doesn’t change that.
Today I can’t imagine living in that kind of heat and humidity; I have been away too long. Yet I grew up there without all the TV and internet telling us it was hot and what to do. We lived in the west side of a large four-plex next to a large blacktop parking lot. Our home was on the second and third floor, a true oven.
I can remember you threw the windows open as soon as the sun went down, and promptly closed them and drew the shades when the sun came up to try and keep the house cool. My Grandma on those hottest of nights would sleep on the screened in porch; today they would worry about personal safety. Summers also brought out people in the evenings as they would sit out under the trees hoping to catch a breeze. Some nights it was just your family and other nights neighbors would arrive with their lawn chairs and all sit and chat about the world and the neighborhood. (I don’t remember mosquitoes, but those were the days when your yard spray had DDT in it.)
I am not sure what year it was, but that hot apartment finally got the best of my folks and they had a window AC unit installed . No one I knew had AC, it was quite an exotic luxury at the time. It was more exotic than color TV. That AC unit work hard and kept three rooms of our place relatively cool and the humidity down. In the hottest of summer nights we kids would camp out on the living room floor sleeping on pallets made of furniture pads. Today we would be told to stay in the AC all day, but come morning my mom would help us fold up those pads, move then out of the living room and then chase us outside to be kids.
Living in a big building like like ours had a quality that no one else had a big basement. It had an entrance from the outside so it was perfect as a neighborhood gathering place from kids. It was on those hottest days of summer that kids from the whole neighborhood would head to our basement to play where it was cooler. We played for hours down there in the summer. If we were not there you might find us on the porch out of the sun playing quite games or playing school. We also could be found quietly reading on the shady side of a building or tree.
Even as kids we understood heat, and how to survive. Today I listen to the TV and they are constantly telling us do this and not that in this hot snap. Has the human race evolved such that we no longer have common sense about summer weather that we had 50 years ago? If so, I am not optimistic about the future of the world. Global warming won’t kill us our stupidity will.