Tuesday, September 8, 2020

heat wave

The current heat wave is predicted to be short-lived, but it's even fiercer than the last one. Temperatures have been above 100F here, which hadn't happened before (though it's not unknown in some other parts of this area, parts where I have no intention of moving to even though the housing is less expensive). And it's been worse elsewhere: an unbelievable 121F was recorded in the San Fernando Valley of LA.

I tried to get some relief on Sunday by driving my air-conditioned car out on the mountain roads to the coast again, with more success than last time. The temperature dropped 30 degrees F in the ten miles between La Honda and San Gregorio, and it was a balmy 76F on the coast. I parked among the beachgoers on the side of the highway, but I didn't go to the beach. I just sat in the car with the windows open and read and listened to music for a while. Coming home was dicey as I drove all the way up to Pacifica to avoid the heavy beach traffic on the narrow mountain roads.

There was no relief at night, though. Even sitting out in my car with the air conditioning on didn't help. Even though B. turned all our fans on, it was still sufferingly hot, too hot to sleep until about 3 am. I had had enough. So, since we had another day of this in store, during those restless late-night hours I reserved a hotel room for the following night, and that's where I stayed in peace and comfort last night, my first night away from home since January. (B., who handles the heat better or at least thinks she does, decided to stay home, the better to cat-wrangle.)

Am I flaunting my privilege, especially economic privilege (hotel rooms are not inexpensive), by doing this? Is it environmentally dubious to put this extra air-conditioning to work, not to mention driving my car around on spare-the-air days trying to keep cool? Am I going to have to do even more of this in the future as the climate continues to warm? In all three cases, yes. But in the absence of a society-wide program to address climate change, a program which would have to be coordinated and promoted by government, so that we would all be in this together, I'm not going to let my tiny mite of a contribution to the environment sacrifice my livability when another option is open. All those tiny mites added together won't mean anything in the absence of that program. And that's where we sit. Yes, it's pretty miserable in several senses.

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