Monday, June 19, 2006

Toronto Heat

This heat is murder. It sucks the life out of your body and thoughts out of your mind. It seems to me that July has stretched out her arms and heated up August to the right and now June to the left. Three months of sauna, smog, sweat. How hot is a summer in Toronto for those (fortunate to be) not in the know? Jim Savory says about being asked to attend his first sweat ceremony: "I was confident that [I]...could take what they dished out....Hell, I'd lived through Toronto in July." (Book Excerpt, Adventures of a Cowboy Priest, Jim and Christine Savory, July 2006 Reader's Digest).

We have made the heat worse with our tall buildings, ribbons of asphalt and concrete, and even locally in our subways. It's nice to get inside an air-conditioned subway car. Minutes of sweaty confinement with other sweaty human beings is no longer, but now our subway stations and tunnels become unbearably hot as the summer drags on and we become miserable in the endless 5 minutes we have to wait for a train. Is it possible to air condition our stations too? But with each increase in cooling air inside a vehicle or building, comes a concomitant increase in heat outside. A few are doing their part by building green roofs or not having AC (that's what I call a big sacrifice), but what can the majority of us do about this downward spiral of more heat, more AC, leading to more heat?

Every summer I wonder why we don't go Spanish: take a siesta in the middle of the day and go flop in cool basements, when the heat and humidity increase exponentially to unbearable levels, and only emerge in the later hours to work, eat, or play again...somewhere about midnight. Instead we wait for the thunder storm to rescue us, however briefly.

They promised thunder storms for last night. When I was out west, I missed our thunder storms. I still miss them. Last night as I made like a beached whale, I wondered where this promised storm was, where was its power and flash, its cooling and refreshing rain? This morning I awoke to rain, just boring old rain. The cold front did come through, but along with the cool air sucking excited, hot molecules out of the house, texturized air is entering, this despite the fact that the radio says the air quality is good. I beg to differ. I need a HEPA filter on my screen.

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