Monday, July 25, 2005

Where Was I? Oh, Tanning In Buffalo

I suppose I should've mentioned in advance I was taking a hiatus. It was our annual family vacation to Buffalo. It was certainly a departure from our usual trip there, consisting of sporadic activities scheduled between cloudbursts, waterspouts and strong gusty winds. No, this year was much different. We got off our flight from Orlando and discovered Buffalo's current weather system felt a lot like....FLORIDA! Yes. Hot, humid, with a chance of violent late afternoon thundershowers. All that was missing was a local hurricane trajectory, shark attack update and sex offender sighting. I don't know that I have the meterological vocabulary to describe Buffalo's weather of late. Here are some symptoms of Buffalo's suddenly menopausal hot flash: 1) Sunscreen is no longer sold strictly for its moisturizing qualities! 2) Air conditioning has become more than a quaint technology invented (but rarely seen operating) in Buffalo! It has become downright desirable. Not even necessarily an extravagance. 3) Pools now contain more kids than algae! 4) Local TV weather personnel have been citing the "heat index" with straight faces! As if it mattered! 5) It's been too hot to cross the street in your bare feet! Let me put it this way. If it suddenly decided to snow on August 15th, most Western New Yorkers would probably agree that they'd already received a full summer's worth of heat and sunshine, possibly even two summers' worth. They'd gotten their climatological money's worth. The sizzling heat made up for the past two dreary summers, and maybe even apologized for that aberrant 7-foot snow dump a couple Christmas Eves ago. We spent a whole week enjoying various forms of water-based relief. Drinking it. Swimming in it. Splashing it. Wading in it. Not coming in when it rained. You name it, we reveled in it. Uncle John's pool! (Complete with Giant Realistic Snake Replica embedded in the side yard that scared the slime dogs out of Hubby. He HATES snakes almost as much as Indiana Jones. Brother-in-law claimed it was a rodent-repelling device.) Cousin Peggy's sprinkler! (Barefoot, to boot, as Buffalo's climate is toxic to fire ants.) Grandma and Grandpa's plastic pool! (filled with ice cold hose water) Water pistols! (Uncle Tom shot one through the screen into the house.) Lisa and Karl's pool! (Complete with slide, floats, and every imaginable pool toy.) Fantasy Island's water park! (who knew they had one?) Ice cubes down my back! (Eh, why not?) And finally, recreational showering! Yes, it's a good thing that Western New York is conveniently located next to that giant body of water known as Lake Erie. After all the water that was used last week, it might even be a little low. So did people complain about the heat? (Yes. Although they said it was primarily the "heat index" that was getting them down.) Did they deserve their orneriness. (Yes.) Will it ever be this hot in Buffalo this many days in a row again? (Based on our little climate crisis, I suspect so. Also there is the theory that Hell is venting.) Will everyone sell out and get air conditioning? (Never! We're Buffalonians, after all. It's nothing a sturdy fan and a cross breeze can't handle.) Our visit to Buffalo this year was nothing less than a tropical vacation. I think I have the tan lines to prove it. The heat burned a memory into the minds of young Western New Yorkers that will warm them this winter as they dream of next year. Buffalo is capable of a deliriously enjoyable summer season. This year has been one of them.

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