By Ana Lewett
Weather on the East Coast should not have come as any surprise. I couldn’t of heard more weather warnings if I tried when I told my friends and family I would be interning in Washington, D.C. from May through July.
“You’ll be in D.C. in July?” my West Coast friends would jeer, as if humidity was the most offensive thought in the world. “Oh, get ready, that place sucks during the summer.”
I wasn’t excited when one of my favorite teachers and journalists said the hottest he’d ever been in his life – after embedding in Afghani forces in the Middle East and climbing 14ers in the peak of summer in Colorado – was driving through Washington, D.C. with no air conditioning.
Great, fantastic – I had to commit to turning into some kind of amphibian for the summer. At least I’d lose a couple pounds in water weight, I guessed.
Showing up my first day in the District, I was expecting the worst. And I got it. I lugged 72 pounds of clothes, a box of *heavy* sheets and towels (that I didn’t need) and my dolphin pillow pet in and out of a beautifully air-conditioned apartment building in full-blast D.C. heat. I thought that would be the sweatiest I’d ever be, as the freshly hardened sweat on my body would just melt again when I stepped out of the AC. It wouldn’t be. After four caked layers of humidity and sweat from my trips in and outside, I was finally able to shower, extremely bothered and thinking of the precautionary steps I would take the next day to avoid that from ever happening again.
It happened again. And again, and again. Entering the metro station, dripping. Showing up to work, soaking. At the Gay Pride Parade, beads of sweat rolling from my under-boob, down my dress, and onto my foot. True story. All this information is necessary to gain a full picture of what East Coast humidity really means.
How do people live like this? I began to really question what the point of all this was. It wasn’t getting easier; it was never going to get more “pleasant”.
So I was trapped in the terrarium that is D.C. until August, heat lamp on and an occasional misting to keep the humidity overbearing. You’re going to have to adapt or die, I thought to myself. It’s simple natural selection. Some people aren’t cut out for it- only the finest of our species have the grit to live in this kind of weather and still work in the center of our nation’s happenings. I was going to persist. One hundred degrees and 87% humidity will just have to be the new norm.
And eventually, it was. I went down to the beaches of North Carolina one weekend, and as I left the car for the first time since leaving D.C., I took in the 20% increase in dampness with a smile on my face. OK, I didn’t last for more than 15 minutes. But I almost kind of liked it for a second. Air-conditioning was starting to feel too dry and sterile. Heat and humidity brings soul and character. And that’s something I can live with.
So, turn the AC a little lower and open that window; I’m starting not to mind the wet air so much.