Just a Mountain Girl Living in a Humid World

Perhaps not surprisingly, one of the things that’s always easy to talk about with completely random strangers is the weather — it’s not religion or politics, so it’s as safe and neutral of a discussion topic as you can find these days, and when the weather’s been as crazy as it’s been this year, everyone has something to say about it, for good or ill.

So, yes. I’m going to talk about the weather.

Let’s begin with a short story that is very sad on multiple levels: When I left my apartment this morning at 5:30 a.m., the RealFeel temperature was already pushing 81.

81. At 5:30 a.m. This does not work for me.

You see, prior to my arrival in Washington, D.C. this past January, I had been living up in the mountains of Montana (which is, in fact, a U.S. state and ought not to be confused with a Canadian province that it doesn’t even touch. Yes, people I’ve met have done this).

In fact, I have spent the majority of my life in the mountains of Montana. Let me tell you what these mountains of Montana have (including, but not limited to):

  • Plants.
  • Animals.
  • Fossils.
  • Skiers.
  • Snow.
  • Rocks.
  • Skiers who ski when there are more rocks than snow.
  • An assortment of other outdoor enthusiasts who hike, bike, backpack, trail blaze, camp in tents, and do other various activities straight from a Subaru commercial.
  • Streams, rivers, and lakes with a temperature just above that of the Arctic Sea, thanks to snow runoff.
Photo by Morgan C. Feddes

Also, we have dinosaurs. Lots of dinosaurs. With snow, even!

Let me tell you what these mountains do not have:

  • Humidity.

Okay, yes, there are plenty of other things these mountains of Montana do not have, but let’s be real: for a new transplant to D.C., the humidity is a biggy. Having survived multiple winters where the highs sometimes don’t get above -5 degrees Fahrenheit and more than one summer where there was a snowstorm in June, I’ve had to adapt to living in cold weather. This means enjoying bundling up, having lots of blankets on my bed even in the summer time (because lows can still drop down into the 40s and 50s, which is chilly when you’re in a basement room), and basically having every excuse to bust out the tank tops and shorts when the thermometer hits 65 degrees, and hiding away if it gets anywhere close to 90 degrees.

This? This means my blood does not translate to D.C. well.

This was not even the high for today. I am doomed when August rolls around.

This was not even the final high for today (7/2). I am doomed when August rolls around. (This is also what prompted this post.)

I suppose I should have prefaced this by saying that I love living in D.C. I love history; I love architecture; I love food; I love people-watching. D.C. is a great place for all of these.

What I do not love is breaking out into a sweat just for making the mistake of stepping out past the threshold of a building into the sunlight. This is compounded by the fact that I do not have a car, and thus have to commute an hour in the morning and another hour in the evening via my legs and the Metro (which does not always have the best A/C).  I’ve taken to packing along an extra change of clothes every day, and sometimes just waiting to shower until I get to work and then using facilities there because showering before my commute is an absolute waste of time.

And let’s not even get started on what it’s like to run in these temperatures; I’m dying at 7 in the morning, and I don’t understand how anyone can do it in the afternoon, but they do. Because they’re crazy.

The culprit behind these shenanigans. I thought about putting in a picture of a melted snowman but have decided to refrain from making “Frozen” references for as long as I possibly can.

The worst part is that it’s barely July; I’m told August is absolutely hellacious, and I have absolutely no idea how I’m going to survive. Most likely, one day I won’t show up for work, and when they go out looking for me, all they’ll find is a big puddle and an abandoned backpack full of clothes and my lunch somewhere near Capitol Street.

But in the very least, I won’t be sweating any more.

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3 thoughts on “Just a Mountain Girl Living in a Humid World

  1. As a transplant from WA state to Austin, TX, I fully relate to this entry. It can easily get into the triple digits in central Washington’s summer (matching some of Austin’s own summer temperatures), but it’s a dry heat. And that makes a huge difference when compared to the sticky mess that is Texan summer.

    However, I should note that while Washington keeps its summers to a relatively limited few months of its own choosing, Texas is not so restrained. Summer begins in February, peaks in August/September, and finally pitters out sometime in December. While Washington can match it for temperature, Texas easily wins out by sheer endurance alone. Of course, that’s just my perspective on matters; I’ve seen fluffy/waffle-quilt parkas make appearances as early as November because the thermostat read a (gasp!) entire low of 50 degrees.

    So yeah; when some of the first advice you’re given when you move is “Carry a sweat-rag,” be prepared to get ‘mugged’ by the heat. (Eh? Eh? Amiright?)

    • Indeed! I often think of you when I see those temperature maps that show Texas in a constant state of red-orange. Not my idea of a good time at all. I do like seasons…

      • Oh yeah, Texas is a red state. They just don’t tell you on how many levels that proves true. :\

        Hnestly, sometimes I wonder if my childhood was an illusion or if my memories are exaggerating. Did it really snow in October, or are my remembered arguments with my mother over coats vs Halloween costumes just a figment of my imagination? Perhaps I’d dreamed it as child? Surely, I think as I flee to the AC’d indoors mid-February, it never REALLY snowed in May. Surely the snow was mostly gone by March. Surely there were ‘ice days’ instead of ‘snow days’ back north, too.

        I have to remind myself that while yes, maybe so, it was never like THIS. (And don’t call me Shirley.)

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