Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rain and other humidity

Friend, it's time to talk about humidity, in all its varied, insidious forms.

It's rainy season here in Japan, and the sun is a stranger down here in the fen. This week's 7-day weather forecast was for rain, heavy rain and occasional very heavy rain and flooding (in Colorado, that would mean a spike in suicide rates). It has now dumped 18 inches of rain on us in the last 36 hours. My yard is a swamp, and there is some kind of weird truffle-looking thing starting to poke up through the grass and weeds, which grow like Jack's beanstalk. Damn dog loves eating it, but it looks like the red weed from War of the Worlds. I keep looking for tripods, and hoping that Tim Robbins isn't living under my house. And you know what really sucks? It doesn't thunder! We get thunderstorms about 5 times/year, usually in the middle of the night, and they last about 3 or 4 grumbles. I like thunder, dammit!

When I walk the dogs in the park behind the house, they look at me like I've just kicked them: "Do we really have to go out there? Damn cats get to pee in a box! Can't you just teach me to use the toilet? I promise not to miss! Betcha I do better than your boys!" I just wear beach sandals when walking them, because my shoes get soaked in seconds, and my feet turn blue. (Note to self: never buy blue leather loafers again. You look like an Avatar every time it rains. Red ones are even worse...)

I never understood why the little creek that runs through my town is called a river. It's only 2 ft wide! See?

Until it rains.... That 'creek' today is filling the entire concrete lined bed, 20+-feet wide and over 10 feet deep, and threatening to come over the banks. I don't know where all the turtles go, but they're somewhere out to sea...

But the rain is just the tip of the iceberg (what I wouldn't give to have a nice, Titanic-sized ice cube out in my yard, casting out waves of frigid moist air). The rain that doesn't fall is so much worse.

You know, humidity! If you're from Georgia, Louisiana, D.C,, or other such God-forsaken places, you understand what I mean, and have absolutely no pity for me. Well, GO AWAY, this is my pity party! In Colorado, 45% relative humidity is debilitating; in Japan, they issue dry-air warnings!

I'm talking about humidity so thick that stepping out of a shower doesn't allow you to get dry, it just means that the water doesn't run off quite as fast. Instead of that nice, cool shower at about 80 degrees, it's sweat and condensation at the energy-draining temp of 98.6 degrees (I took a shower before my Ladies' English Class today, and had a student ask me if my hair was wet because I had just taken a shower, or if it was sweat!).

Humidity which ensures that all of my children's shoes smell like the locker room from hell, and their gym bag of clothes from their intramural sports are even worse. When you have a cold drink, it condenses all over the outside of the glass, dripping on you when you take a drink, and making it look like Daddy's had an accident. Which ensures that clothes hung up to dry (most Japanese homes don't have a dryer - but that's another post) are just as wet the next morning, when you wash the next load. --My neighborhood laundromat is doing a booming business right now, the dryers are always full. But every time someone uses the sneaker dryer, I want to heave--

Which brings us to the other bane of my existence: dust. This humidity combines with the ever-present dust to make dustbunnies the size of Godzilla. You know, when I was a kid back in the mountains of Colorado, I used to sweep the floor (not often, mind you, only when Mom managed to catch me offguard) and watch 50% of it float away: "Ha, we'll just wait until you finish, then float back down and coat everything again!" Not in Japan. The dust clumps together, forming steel-wool gray snakes of sticky fluff that stick to everything. When you sweep, you have to reach down every few strokes and pull the crap off the bottom of the broom bristles, where it has congealed like gun-metal gray, week-old cotton candy

Well, I feel much better now, thank you for the cathartic release, but I think I'd better go. The perspiration is making my fingertips slip and I'm starting to type things like "llsifï¼”en#"od j(eiai98eri(&anedd".

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