When I was existing, because it sure as hell wasn’t living, in the depths of Pennsylvania this past summer, there was not a single day which went by without having to take into account the weather. What I mean is, no matter what the weather was, somebody wasn’t happy with it, and changes had to be made to deal with it. It was always too cold, too hot, too rainy, too foggy, too muggy, too humid, whatever. The weather was never just right, at least when you are living with 80 and 90 year olds.
Everyday meant making some kind of adjustment for the weather. Opening windows, closing windows, opening windows just a bit, closing windows on one side of the apartment, opening the patio door, closing it again, turning the fans on or off, turning the ac on or off. Running the heat. Dressing for the cold, or the heat, or the rain. Get in the car and it’s an argument over whether to run the ac, the heat, but close the windows because it’s too windy. Every single day, the weather determined what one could and could not do. And not once was anybody happy with whatever the weather happened to be. It didn’t matter what the weather was, somebody would bitch about it…including me.
You would think, after living in the same area for 8 or 9 decades, you would be used to the weather patterns by now. But these people would stop and be amazed when something like a thunderstorm came rumbling by, or the wind blew, or the fog rolled in. Yet, despite years of experience with the same dreary weather, people up there are still awestruck when water comes out of the sky or the great invisible sky wizard makes scary noises come out of the clouds.
Many a time I was asked by these people, when I had the misfortune of being stuck in an elevator or in line somewhere, how I liked the weather on a particular day. They were taken aback when I explained in no uncertain terms how much the weather sucked and how badly I wanted to get away from it.
The weather in Pa., and I’m sure in other regions not tropical, really does determine what one can do at the time of said weather. So much time, effort, and money is put into adjusting for the different seasons. Entire wardrobes of clothing must be kept for each season. Homes are constantly maintained to keep things from getting too cold, too warm, or too wet. So much is done to avoid actual contact with the weather. Stay home because it’s raining. Don’t drive because the roads are slippery. Close the blinds because the big yellow ball of fire in the sky is putting out too much heat and light and it’s scary. Which is one big reason I live in the tropics.
Take the weather here in Maui for example. Everyday it’s in the mid 80’s during the day, mid 70’s at night. Depending on which part of the island one is on, it can get cooler, as in the upcountry towards the volcano summit, or rain if one is on the wet side, or windy, or dry on the lee side. The weather rarely goes beyond what I just described above. Sometimes a storm may make it’s way here but not very often.
The weather is so dependable, and comfortable, it no longer factors into everyday life. You can pretty much plan to do just about anything without worrying about how the weather might affect said plans. If anything the weather here contributes to the nicer attitudes of the people. In Pa., there is a general sense of depression and resignation. Nobody seems happy and the weather seems to reflect it. But here in Hawaii, with the sunshine, and warmth, and general brightness to the climate, you get a more better feeling about life. People seem generally happy all the time. I have yet to be here and see a day where it is dreary, foggy, cold, and miserable.
One of the interesting aspects of the weather here is something few people would notice. When I was living in Kihei over the past year, in the condo, all the windows were open all the time. Day or night, no matter what, the windows were open, with screens of course to help keep the bugs out. The patio door was open all the time, even when nobody was home, mainly so the cat could come in and out, but also because the weather was so nice you didn’t want to seal yourself in from it. There were no worries about anybody breaking in neither.
The place had an old rusty window ac unit which never was turned on when I was there. We had ceiling fans which provided more than sufficient air movement to keep things just right. I was never too cold, nor too hot. The only time I had to close the window in my room was when a rare rain storm came crashing through. It lasted not very long and afterwards, everything smelled clean and fresh, just liked the detergent commercials.
Here in Paia, it is the same situation. All the windows in the house are wide open, with screens, and from the looks of some of them, said windows haven’t been closed in years. We have fans going in all the rooms which helps, but we also have the nice trade winds blowing in from the water which keeps things really comfy. It does get a bit chillier at night being up from the water, but a sheet is more than sufficient to keep warm.
You can tell when traveling around where the tourists are staying because, much like back home, they get into their condos, or time shares, or motel rooms, pull the shades, close the windows tight, and crank the ac to full arctic. When they do go outside, mostly to the beach, their pasty white skin can’t take too much direct sunlight. It don’t take long before they are slathered in cheap suntan oil, waddling back to the safety of their rooms to get away from the nasty open air and sunshine.
It is so nice to have this kind of weather. You can wear the same clothes all year round, no winter coats, unless you are planning a trip up the mountains. No boots, no sweaters, no long pants. It’s about as perfect as weather can get, at least as far as I’m concerned.
I remember in years past before I got smart and left the great white north, watching shows on tv about tropical islands where the houses had their windows open all the time. Fans would run to keep the breeze going. Rain was a brief but welcome relief now and then. And I always dreamed I would someday live in such a climate. Florida was close but it does get pretty hot there. With the high humidity, air conditioning is a must. Winters still got too cold, even in the Keys when the fronts would come barreling through, but it was still more better than Pa.
Now, I am in Hawaii and getting way too used to the nice weather all the time. It’s just so damn comfortable here. No concerns about the coming winter. No sealing up the house. No buying clothing for the season. Just open air living at it’s best. It’s exactly how I envisioned life would be like out here, at least in regards to the weather. Living with the windows open all the time.
Can’t beat it.
In case you are wondering, blue is the correct color of the sky…