Monday, April 03, 2017

Mistaken moisture

There’s a word in German that means sultry and humid: Schwül. The umlaut is important, though, because without it—Schwul—the word means gay (slang for homosexual). One small mistake, and everything’s different—whether or not it’s actually sultry.

Last night I made a different sort of mistake and because of that discovered how sultry it was outside before I experienced it. I’d left the air conditioning running in the lounge overnight, and this morning I noticed that there was condensation on the outside of the windows in that room (photo above). When went I went outside, I found out it was extremely warm and humid and sultry—Schwül—making it feel almost tropical (that’s schwüles Wetter, by the way).

New Zealand is about to get the remnants of Cyclone Debbie, a tropical cyclone that caused extensive flooding in Australia’s Queensland, even after it was no longer a cyclone. It felt like the tropics here today, so I could easily believe a tropical storm is on the way. Still, the storm may actually improve things, assuming it brings some winds to move the air. Auckland isn’t expected to get much of the rain, but, weather, eh? No one knows for sure what will happen.

Auckland doesn’t often feel as oppressively humid as it has today, though I wrote about condensation on the outside of windows in January 2016 and again the following month. Hm, twice last year and again this year—maybe it’s becoming more ordinary than it used to be?

There was some good weather-related news today: The request for voluntary water conservation, launched last month after the “Tasman Tempest”, was lifted today. The water processing plants are back at full capacity, and they feel sure they can handle whatever rains come in the next few days.

This is good news, not the least because I have mountains of things that need to be washed after the move—things that were either stored or maybe not packed well enough—but I’ve held off washing them because they weren’t important and could wait. And now that I can wash them, the weather is going to be bad and I won’t be able to hang them on the line to dry. Typical of how many of my projects have gone over the past few weeks (my office is STILL filled with boxes…).

So today I sat at my desk with the fan blowing on me to help keep me cool and dry, and sometimes I went up to the lounge to cool off in the air conditioning. I know, I know, such a terribly rough life. But being aware of how lucky one is to have such meaningless challenges doesn’t in any way reduce the fact that those challenges must be met, and when a little sultry weather enters the mix for people not used to it, it makes even ordinary, everyday things more difficult or uncomfortable to do. That’s still a reality, no matter how fortunate we may be when compared to others’ harsh struggles.

I’m lucky to have a fan and air conditioning, the electricity to run them, and employment to make it all happen. So, that’s how this Schwul boy is able to deal with the Schwül weather. And that’s no mistake.


rogerogreen said...

2 inches of rain expected for ALB tomorrow. Yikes!

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

That's quite a lot. Some parts of Auckland got 167.8mm (6.6 inches) of rain from Debbie's Deluge. In April, Auckland normally gets 91mm of rain (3.58 inches).