Beating the heat | Notes on the Valley | Monith Ilavarasan | |

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By Monith Ilavarasan

Beating the heat

Uploaded: Sep 7, 2022

Last week my wife flew out to Ohio to meet up with some close college friends at a lake house. Having this long weekend to myself, I had originally planned a camping road trip up to Crater Lake with one of my close friends. Unfortunately these plans didn’t work out for a few reasons.

The first reason was the numerous fires around Crater Lake and on the route leading up to it. Spending time outside in a sea of smoke didn’t sound like the outdoor adventure we were hoping for.

The second was the record high temperatures. The car we would have taken has been around the block a time or two. The thought of melting in a car with struggling or failing AC for nine hours straight didn’t sound particularly appealing either.

The third was the fact that my wife was the real outdoorsy person in the group. Neither myself or my friend had ever really set up a campsite on our own. I could just picture us getting to the campsite in the middle of night and having to set up a tent for the first time while surrounded by smoke.

Our grand Crater Lake camping plans sounded great the previous Friday night after a couple drinks. But under these new set of circumstances they didn’t sound so grand.

We ended up canceling this trip and I rode out the long weekend and heat wave in Pleasanton.

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

The heat wave actually reminded me of other times in my life where I had to deal with a massive 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 read a cool 44 degrees. I was surprised at how cold it was, but I read somewhere the dessert actually gets real cold at night and that made sense to me.

As soon as I walked outside the airport I felt like I got punched in the stomach. Turns out it was 44 degrees Celsius, which translates to around 111 degrees in Fahrenheit. It was that hot in the dead of night. On top of the heat, the humidity was around 60%, making it feel like you were wrapped in a dense soggy blanket.

During my whole stay there I had to make it from the hotel to the office wearing a full business outfit 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 perpetually being in scorching heat. Every nook and cranny of the place is covered in a dome and air conditioned heavily. However due to the walk to and from the subway I reached the office every day already in need of a shower.

This weekend in Pleasanton wasn’t nearly as bad. To beat the heat I stuck to indoor activities. I hopped over to Walnut Creek with a friend to visit & throw bowls at the Red Ox Clay studio (which on a side note is owned by former Amador Valley ceramics teacher Roger Yee).

It was national cinema day on Saturday so my parents and I watched Nope in theaters 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. The cocktails were good, winning at the game felt even better.

I always feel this pressure to make the most out of every three day weekend. You don’t get very many of them in a year so I feel this urge to do something big and out of the ordinary. I was initially a bit bummed that the heat was going to put a damper on this long weekend.

The weekend ended up being great. Spending time with family and friends is never a waste, and I’m glad the heat wave pushed me in that direction. Times like these helped me truly appreciate how good we have it in the Bay most of the year.