You’d think that having hit summer #4 that I would at least be used to it. But I’m not.
“Summer” as in the season known to be hot essentially starts here in April when it stops being comfortable to sit outdoors and generally lasts until early November. But last week meant the real start of summer around here; temperatures hitting 115 degrees and humidity levels at 60 percent and upwards. I’m sucking down water but I’m still constantly dehydrated.
I’m certainly not trying to dismiss the pain of the heatwave engulfing the U.S. right now. Hot is hot and losing your AC because the power’s out is pure misery. Thankfully, the power is steady here. They know what the temps are like here and at least the Dubai electricity company has made sure the grid can handle it. (Not so lucky in neighboring Sharjah which regularly suffers power cuts during the summer.)
It’s not like I’m some tenderfoot. I grew up in Texas. I’m used to hot summers. But Gulf heat is something else. It’s hard to explain how hot 115 degrees is. And, no, it’s not a dry heat. The U.A.E. may be desert but it does not skimp when it comes to providing you the fullest extent of hell come summertime. It’s humid here in a way that would make Florida and Houston blush.
Really, at this end of the thermometer, does it matter? Sure it’s dry in Kuwait. But it’s also 123 degrees. Misery is misery.
To cope, you hide indoors all day, closing the blinds against the sun. In the Gulf, you get cabin fever in the summer. Living here really shows you how merciless and deadly the sun can be. Step outside and you’re immediately blinded. (A good pair of sunglasses is key to living here. Of course it’s so humid that as soon as you put them on, they fog up, rendering you blind anyway.)
There is no longer a cold water spigot. Oh, sure, it’s there, taunting you on the right side of the faucet. But it does not release cool, refreshing water. You don’t bother turning on the hot spigot because the cold water is hot enough, thank you! I’ve not had the hot water heater on in my bathroom for four days. Shower is still scalding hot.
I’m lucky. What about the workers at construction sites or in neighborhoods, making deliveries or hauling gas canisters with a paltry midday break? They don’t even have the luxury of complaining, I suppose.
The heat won’t subside until October, when the temperatures will consistently drop below 100 degrees. At least in the U.S., the areas affected by the heatwave will have their power restored soon and temperatures will begin dipping out of the danger zone well before October. When they do, please spare me — and, more importantly, these workers — a thought.