Just bitchin'

Sweating in Seattle


It has been the hottest July on record for my neck of the woods.

Those records have been kept since the late 1800s, so we in the Pacific Northwest find this newsworthy to the extent that it’s all we can discuss.

The heat.

The heat.

The heat.


Seems only appropriate that I should join the steady stream of sweat-soaked Seattleites who populate our newscasts throughout our sweltering days and torpid nights. The newscasters whose smiles at the beginning, when they announced sunshine in the forecast, are now frozen in a rictus of confused denial.

You see, we can’t admit we don’t want all this heat and light. We like the rain. We adore clouds. We bow down to fog. This unprecedented string of solar showmanship is…is…unnatural. Yet we feel we should be appreciative and brave, telling each other how beee-oooo-tiful the weather is.

We’re afraid the rest of the world will realize our unofficial state flower is mildew. Or that most of us have never found the need to have air conditioning installed. Or that we’ve never had to water our lawns to keep them green. Or that we’re in danger of crisping ourselves like bacon during the short journey across a parking lot to our cars.

This weather is untoward.

It’s not us.

And it’s never clearer than when I drive into the city and it looks deserted.

We are all clustering around the few air conditioned venues we can find. The spacious walk-in beer and wine cooler at the QFC atop Queen Anne’s Hill…packed with teetotalers and imbibers alike. The downtown library swamped with first-time patrons who didn’t realize books still exist in the sea of tablets and Kindles. The few air-conditioned buses plying their routes over melting asphalt, their drivers wondering why no one is getting off.

This is my home.

And it’s hot.

And it’s all anyone can talk about anymore.

And there’s only one way out…


…ice cream.