I realize that most people look forward to summer with eager anticipation.
I’m not one of them.
Aside from the fact that summer brings an assortment of flesh-eating, blood-sucking, carnivorous insects with it, it also brings something I dislike even more.
Humidity is one of the reasons why whenever any of my 43 friends who have moved to Florida during the past two years invite me to come down for a visit, I react as if they’ve just invited me to bathe in chum (shark bait) and then go skinny-dipping with a Great White.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve disliked humidity. Why? Loads of reasons. It’s sticky. It makes the air so heavy, it’s difficult to breathe. And it causes skin to become so constantly damp, I have to keep checking my armpits for mushrooms. It’s nothing short of torture, I tell you.
Still, I have friends on the West Coast who find it hard to believe that New Hampshire actually even has humid weather.
“But you live in New Hampshire!” one of them said when I complained about the tropical weather. “Georgia and Florida have humidity. New Hampshire is cold and dry…like Canada!”
I invited her to come here for a week of “cold and dry” in mid-July, so she can see for herself.
Although I have plenty of valid reasons why I don’t like humidity, first and foremost is my hair. Humidity either can make it look as limp as wet spaghetti or as frizzy as Albert Einstein’s. I can freshly wash and blow-dry my hair, and even manage to get a little curl into it, but the minute I step one foot outside during the months of June through August, the humidity attacks any semblance of a hairstyle and beats it to within an inch of its life.
On particularly humid days, my late husband used to tease me and tell me I looked just like Rat Child…which was our nickname for our dog back then, a Shih-Tzu.
And forget about makeup staying on during humid weather. My eye shadow migrates into the creases on my eyelids (and believe me, I have plenty of creases) and ends up looking as if I painted stripes on them. Lipstick slides right off my lips.
Another problem with humidity is bread. I don’t like keeping bread in the fridge because it makes it too hard, so I keep it in the breadbox.
I still can remember the day my husband didn’t look too pleased when he came home from work. “I ate half of the sandwich you gave me for lunch today before I noticed that part of the bread was green!” he’d complained, clasping his stomach. “I think I may wake up dead in the morning.”
“You’ll live,” I told him. “Mold is like penicillin.”
On one TV newscast, some doctor was saying that when the air is humid, perspiration can’t evaporate, so it stays on the skin.
I didn’t need an expert to tell me that. My clothes usually stick to me with so much suction during the summer months, I practically need the Jaws of Life to get out of them. I even had to stop wearing colored patterns because the dye was coming off on my skin and making me look as if I were covered in tattoos.
And every summer, we always ended up with a white bathroom – not because it was painted that color, but because of my husband’s fear of getting a fungal foot-infection, like athlete’s foot. One night, I saw a mysterious white cloud moving up the hallway. I tracked it into the bathroom, where I found my husband vigorously shaking powder onto his feet.
“You have to be sure to keep your feet really dry in this weather,” he explained between coughs from all of the powder dust. “Humidity can give you such a bad case of athlete’s foot, your toes can rot right off!”
I frowned as I pictured myself toeless. “Hand me the powder.”
Even with the air-conditioner running non-stop, the house still is never free of humidity. The minute I boil even one potato for dinner, the kitchen turns into a sauna and the windows steam up. Then the air-conditioner struggles to run even harder. Every time I hear it crank up a notch, I can hear my electric meter spinning like the cherries on a slot machine and making “cha-ching” noises.
But one of the most aggravating problems in the summer is the sweaty toilet. Whenever the weather is really humid, the toilet tank builds up so much condensation on it, it drips down and forms the mighty Mississippi on the bathroom floor.
“Buy one of those fuzzy toilet-tank covers to absorb the moisture,” one plumber’s website suggested as a remedy.
Easy for him to say. The last time I saw a fuzzy tank-cover anywhere, Sonny and Cher were still newlyweds.
So I guess I have no choice other than to be patient, endure the humidity, and count the days until September, when the air once again will turn crisper and cooler.
But for now, with summer looming only a few weeks away, I will just have to resign myself to the fact I’ll be spending the upcoming months looking like a colorfully tattooed Shih-Tzu, eating green bread and watching my toes rot off…probably because they will be submerged in water whenever I have to use the toilet.
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