Beat the heat | Notes on the valley | Monith Ilavarasan

Last week my wife flew to Ohio to meet some close friends from college at a lake house. Having this long weekend to myself, I had originally planned a camping trip up to Crater Lake with a close friend of mine. Unfortunately, these plans did not work out for several reasons.

The first reason was the many fires around Crater Lake and on the road to it. Spending time outside in a sea of ​​smoke didn’t feel like the outdoor adventure we were hoping for.

The second was the record temperatures. The car we would have taken drove around the block once or twice. The idea of ​​melting into a car with struggling or failing AC power for nine hours straight didn’t sound particularly appealing either.

The third was the fact that my wife was the real outdoors person in the group. Neither me nor my friend had ever really set up a campsite on our own. I could imagine us arriving at the campsite in the middle of the night and having to pitch a tent for the first time while they were surrounded by smoke.

Our big camping plans at Crater Lake sounded great the previous Friday night after a few drinks. But under these new circumstances, they didn’t seem so grand.

We ended up canceling this trip and I made it through the long weekend and the heat wave in Pleasanton.

Having spent most of my life in the Bay Area, I have become incredibly mild and my ideal temperature is between 75 and 85 degrees. For most of the year, this area basically has a giant thermostat set to the ideal temperature.

The heat wave actually reminded me of other times in my life when I had to deal with a tremendous amount of heat.

A few years ago I went on a business trip to Dubai during the summer. When I landed I checked my phone and the temperature was 44 degrees. I was surprised how cold it was, but I read somewhere that the dessert gets really cold at night and that made sense to me.

As soon as I walked out of the airport, I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. Turns out it was 44 degrees Celsius, which translates to about 111 degrees Fahrenheit. It was so hot in the middle of the night. In addition to the heat, the humidity was around 60%, which made it feel like being wrapped in a dense, soggy blanket.

During my entire stay there, I had to walk from the hotel to the office wearing full business attire in temperatures even hotter than that night. Much like Las Vegas, Dubai is an interesting place in that the whole city seems to have adapted to perpetual scorching heat. Every nook and cranny of the place is domed and heavily air-conditioned. However, due to the walk to and from the metro, I reached the office every day, already needing a shower.

This weekend in Pleasanton was not so bad. To beat the heat, I contented myself with indoor activities. I popped into Walnut Creek with a friend to visit and throw bowls at Red Ox Clay Studio (which, by the way, is owned by former Amador Valley ceramics teacher Roger Yee).

It was National Movie Day on Saturday, so my parents and I watched Nope at the cinema for a discounted price. The movie was good, but we all agreed it was our third favorite Jordan Peele movie.

The last two days of the weekend, I made cocktails with a few friends while we learned and played a new cooperative board game. Cocktails were good, winning the game was even better.

I always feel that pressure to make the most of every three-day weekend. You don’t get a lot of that in a year, so I feel this urge to do something big and out of the ordinary. At first I was a little disgusted that the heat was going to put a damper on this long weekend.

The weekend turned out great. Spending time with family and friends is never a waste, and I’m glad the heat wave pushed me in that direction. Moments like these have really helped me appreciate how much we have it in the bay most of the year.

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