A Dry Heat

Once upon a hot week in July, Jon decided to vacation in Phoenix. As the plane was about to land, the pilot announced that the temperature was 117 degrees. The woman in the next seat turned to Jon and said, “It’s a dry heat.” Jon responded, “It may be, but it’s still hot!”

Our weekend at Loyd Park was spent in just such “a dry heat,” with temperatures in the mid-90s and low humidity allowing us to spend more time outdoors without feeling like we were melting into the forest. In fact, on both Saturday and Sunday, we were able to enjoy our typical activities under the picnic pavilion until well into the afternoon.

We spent our evenings watching seasons two and three of “Schitt’s Creek” on Netflix. We don’t know why we were late to the party, but we’re glad we finally arrived.

For the uninitiated, “Schitt’s Creek” is the story of a wealthy couple — video store magnate Johnny Rose and his soap opera star wife Moira — who suddenly find themselves completely broke. With only one remaining asset, a small town called Schitt’s Creek (which they bought years earlier as a joke), they move into the town’s only motel with their two adult children and try to cope with the reality of their newfound poverty.

We also took time to watch an excellent broadcast of the Grand Ole Opry featuring Lady A, The Scott Family, and Charlie Worsham. The show has been produced without an audience for the past 13 weeks, and we’ve seen them all. This was unquestionably the most emotional, insightful and meaningful performance to date. Lady A’s performance of Let it Be Love brought us to tears. We’re not only new fans of Charlie Worsham (who did a pretty good job of schooling the audience on the African-American influences in Country music) but we also have a new appreciation for Lady A (the group took the stage only nine days after making the risky move to change its name from Lady Antebellum).

Returning to the title of this post, “A Dry Heat.” Relative humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air relative to to how much the air can actually hold at that temperature. So, a relative humidity of 50 percent means the air is holding half of the water vapor it is capable of holding. When the temperature is warm, the air can hold more water vapor than it can when the temperature is cold, so our natural cooling system (perspiration) works more efficiently. In other words, it’s easier to tolerate high heat when the humidity is low.

Right now, there’s a lot of heat all across America as we grapple with the reality of racism. One thing that introduces a lot of water vapor into the air is shouting and screaming and speaking. Maybe we would better tolerate the heat if we just stopped talking so much and instead gave thoughtful consideration to what it’s all about.

The metaphor may limp a bit, but we think it conveys our sentiments. We can take the heat, but the relative humidity can make it unbearable.