“Too hot, too hot!” ~William Shakespeare (Winter’s Tale, I, ii)

Usually August is the absolute worst month in Austin for heat and humidity but this year September really gave August a run for its money.  It’s been nearly five years now since I moved to Austin and I still am having a very hard time getting used to how infernally hot it really is here.  My parents and brother moved here over 20 years ago and I used to visit them a few times each year; I remember it being hot but not this hot, and I also remember it raining a lot more than it does now.  And it seems now like Austin just stays really hot from about March through September; there is no real winter here and when the temps dip down into the 70s, everyone starts referring to it as a cold front.  Oh, and when it does get “cold” from December through February, we have the insane cedar allergy season to deal with, so it’s not like we can even go out into cold and enjoy it…no, those of us blessed with allergies have to stay cooped up in our HEPA-filtered houses and run from the car to the house to dodge the yellow blasts of pollen exploding from the trees.

Yes, I’m feeling grumpy lately if you couldn’t tell.  I grew up in Albuquerque NM and spent most of my adult life there until I moved here.  Albuquerque is blessed to have near-perfect weather year round; no it doesn’t snow there as often as it used to either, and rain is so rare that it brings people out on to their front porches in amazement, but it has actual real feel-good seasons.  Fall is fall, with its crisp mornings and state fair apple cider and turning leaves; spring is spring with its windy days and layering-your-clothes weather.  There are MANY people in Austin who never stop wearing shorts, regardless of the month (I’m not one of them).  A few years ago here in Austin we almost hit 100 degrees one February day…I remember thinking that it could not possibly be true but it was.  The leaves here don’t turn until extremely late if at all, and a late fall warm snap can dupe the trees and plants into thinking it’s spring already, so they get all confused.


I miss the true fall of ABQ.

I miss the true fall of ABQ…

A few weeks ago I had to spend six hours outside for a work function, under a tent, in danger-level heat-index warning temps.  It was so miserably hot that I got heat rash on my FOREHEAD.  The last time that happened was when I lived in the middle-of-nowhere Africa, where temps regularly soared into the 110s or often higher.  It should NOT be (or at least seem) as hot in Austin as it is in Africa, I paid my hotter-than-hell dues already!!  I remember the first year I was here, I went with my brother and one of my  nephews to an annual ice cream festival – outside of course, in August.  It was indescribably hot, and the fact that your ice cream would melt faster than you could eat it only made it that much worse.  (I don’t go to outdoor festivals in August anymore.)

And another thing – I don’t have a pretty sweat pattern.  I’ve been cursed with sweat glands that run like faucets in areas that you don’t want it to look like you have a running faucet.  I also sweat a lot all over my scalp, which is extremely unpleasant and makes every hot day a bad hair day (which is depressing when you have less-than-great hair to begin with).

Getting and staying that hot for that amount of time makes me very cranky.  It makes me do things like throwing my bags down when I get home, flinging open the laptop, and immediately start searching the internet for jobs in Seattle.  Or Maine.  Or blissfully rainy England.  Anywhere where it isn’t as hot as here.

A few frustration tears are shed sometimes.  Yes, it’s possible to escape the heat temporarily with a blast of the A/C (in Austin, not in Africa), but then I know it’s out there again tomorrow, waiting for me.  Until finally, it’s not, and the weather turns the corner…and instead of the wind feeling like dragon fire-breath, you feel just the slightest perceivable tinge of coolness in the breeze, and along with it, a sense of immense relief.

Which happened yesterday.  FINALLY.  And not a minute too soon…  I was just about to apply for that job in Seattle.

À la prochaine!

Ant Kristi