Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Ordinary examples

Most of us live ordinary lives most of the time. We also all have interesting or exciting things that happen, but that’s not necessarily very often. Sometimes, very ordinary things can help tell a bigger story.

At 8:30 this morning I was going around opening up the curtains and getting ready to start my day, and I noticed there was condensation on the outside of our windows. At the time, the humidity was 92% and the temperature was 21.8 (71.24F) outside, but only about 19 (66.2F) inside. With the high humidity, that was enough to create the condensation.

A storm system is moving in (and it’s already rained some), but it originates in the subtropics, so it’s carrying humid air. So, while the highs are expected to drop a degree, the humidity will remain high, and that will make it feel hotter than it actually is—and uncomfortable for people without air conditioning, especially at night. We also may see more condensation on the windows in the morning.

This is really the latest chapter in the weather story I first talked about on Sunday. The slightly lower temperatures are unlikely to make people feel any better. Still, it could be worse.

When I first arrived in New Zealand, hardly anyone had air conditioning. Sure malls, big office buildings, etc., were air conditioned, but most homes weren’t, and neither were ordinary shops or cafes. Times have changed.

Over the past 20 years, we’ve put air conditioning into all the houses we’ve lived in, the latest being ducted central air conditioning (which is still rare). But these days a lot of homes have air conditioning, even if only in the lounge or maybe bedrooms. It’s common now for even small shops and cafes to have air conditioning, because a lot of people—me included—will avoid a place in the summer if it’s not air conditioned.

The point of my post last Sunday was, as I said at the time, that “some people think that Auckland is always cool, or don’t believe it can actually get hot; our experience tends to disprove that.” Most of the summers I’ve had in New Zealand since 1995 have had hot stretches, sometimes long and uncomfortable, sometimes shorter and drier. But at least some hot weather is quite common in an Auckland summer.

When I share ordinary things, like a photo of our kitchen window with condensation outside, I do so for two reasons. First, it’s to share what it’s like living in Auckland and New Zealand—I use my own life and experiences as an example, an illustration of what I’m talking about. Similarly, the other reason is to provide some real-world examples of what life here is like, and I’m actually irrelevant to that.

Most of us live ordinary lives most of the time. Sometimes I share some of my ordinary things to provide examples of what I’m talking about—the larger themes, I suppose they’d be called.

Sometimes, very ordinary things can help tell a bigger story. Even fogged up windows can do that.

At 10am, it was 23.9 (75F), but humidity had fallen to a mere 85%, so it only “felt like” 31 (87.8F). It was still a very comfortable 19.8 (67.64F) inside.

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