It’s Getting Hot In Here

I’m down in Palm Springs visiting family. It’s not my first time here so I shouldn’t be surprised by this, but… it’s hot. Early May and it’s reaching the upper 90’s by afternoon. That’s degrees for my European friends. I don’t know what that it is in celsius. Somewhere around 275 I think. I never could figure out all those zeros and decimal places with the metric system. I remember the “metric unit” in grade school. There was some sort of national push in the 70’s to convert the US to metric. I think there was some sort of uprising by 4th graders at the time. Rioting in the lunch room and sit-in’s on the playground convinced the president to abandon metric. Thank god. A royal with cheese just isn’t the same thing.

Anyway, it’s hot. Not surprising since it’s the desert and life isn’t supposed to exist here. Take a gazillion gallons of water from Northern California via the Colorado river, build approximately 20,000 golf courses and viola! You have a thriving city. What’s funny about the population here (besides the wacky golf clothes) is how they treat the heat. One of two things happens. This time of year when it’s merely hot and not melting your eyeballs they all say, “oh but you should have been here last week. It was absolutely beautiful! It’s a little warm, but when that valley wind howls through and blows all the sand off the patio it’s really lovely out.” Everyone lives in a state of weather denial. Sure it’s hot now, but there’s approximately 6 days in January  and a few in February when it’s perfect.

The second state of mind happens in about a month when temps reach 115+ (2,300 in celsius). The residents seem to take it as a badge of honor. “You think this is hot? Last August it got so hot all the rubber hoses in my car melted while I was driving to the mall.” Comparing AC bills seems to be some sort of desert living status symbol. The house I’m in has not one, but three AC units. Not joking, I wear a sweater (cute v-neck!) in the house to ward off hypothermia. Walk outside and you get hit in the chest with heat that rivals an iron smelting factory. Remember to bring your jacket to the mall because the temp inside will be subarctic. It’s amazing more old folks aren’t dropping off left and right from pneumonia.

When viewed from the comfort of your living room, it truly is a gorgeous setting. The beautiful San Jacinto mountains, lush green golf courses, faux spanish/Mediterranean/San Diego architecture, acres of high-end shopping to rival Beverly Hills, all combine to make a special place. A place too hot for rattlesnakes. Given my unnatural fear of snakes, maybe I should give this area a second thought? Hmm, no. Bermuda shorts just aren’t flattering on my figure.

On Walking Goats

On the trails the other day I passed a couple walking a goat and a llama on leashes. Neither farm animal seemed particularly pleased to be on a leash or out for a stroll. The llama looked fairly petrified, especially as I went by on bike. The goat wasn’t exactly being walked. It looked a little more like it was being drug up the hill. The couple on the other hand were perfectly happy with their crunchy-granola, Santa Cruz vibe. I’m sure they were convinced that walking farm animals like domesticated pets made perfect sense. I could only think WTF? It’s funny the things we do that make perfect sense to us but must look nuts to the rest of the world.

  • I like to run (pavement, dirt, trails, doesn’t matter) in Vibram Five Fingers.
  • I don’t mind getting up early and driving 4+ hours to hike/ski and then drive home. At the same time I don’t like getting up early to do something that’s only a 10 minute drive away.
  • If it takes longer than a couple of minutes to prepare lunch I’d rather just eat fast food… yet I don’t think twice about spending hours prepping for dinner.
  • I do not like wind under any circumstances. I have no problem doing stuff in the rain.
  • I’d rather sweat and suffer than take the time to stop and take off a layer and be comfortable.
  • It really bothers me to go somewhere if I haven’t looked at it/found it on a map first. Makes no difference if it’s a store in-town or a lake in the backcountry. I don’t like finding places on the fly.
  • Public speaking to a small group is much worse than a large group in terms of pucker-factor.
  • I’m very self-conscious about “looking” like I’m good at something if I’m not. I would never wear a fancy cycling kit or ride a super expensive bike because I’m not a very good cyclist. I live in fear of looking like a poser so I end up wearing ratty old t-shirts rather than something that’s probably more functional.
  • I don’t think twice about hiking, cycling, backpacking, skiing, etc… solo. Going to a movie or restaurant by myself – will never happen.

And of course – who’d be dumb enough to give up a perfectly good job and house in the silicon valley to move to Idaho with only a vague plan for what comes next? WTF?