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Here in Maine our winters last so long and our summers are so short that we don't really know how to deal with warm weather. People farther south know how to handle blistering hot, humidity-soaked days and have even developed whole warm-weather cultures based on heat. Here in Maine we know how to deal with the cold, we know how to stay warm, but we have no clue as to how to stay cool.
On these hazy, hot and humid summer days I've even found myself thinking about an article I read online recently. (It was on the Internet, so it must be true, right?)
The article was about cool places on Earth and began by asking, "Why is it 'cooler’ at the South Pole than at the North Pole?' I began to feel cooler just reading it. I had to wander all the way to the end of the article to come across the answer, and it was hardly worth the journey. I’ll explain in a minute why one of our poles is cooler than the other, but first I have to explain something else.
I was planning to write a “warm weather” column but was distracted when I heard the chirpy guy on the radio say the temperature outside was an “unseasonably” warm 84 degrees. If the season is summer and summer is supposed to be warm, why is warm weather, even 84-degree weather, called unseasonable? Even here in Maine it's summer, for Pete’s sake!
Around this time we in Maine should expect our fair share of warm weather – even hot weather, for a week or two, which includes temperatures in the 80s and overnight temperatures that plunge into the mid-60s. We can also expect those King Lear-style thunderstorms that rumble overhead every other day or so, but we're not prepared to like it. We don't have the experience.
If you have friends in places like Boston and New York who want to flee to Maine to get away from the hot, sweaty masses of malcontented flatlanders they know as neighbors, you can expect about now to have them drop by any time and remind you that you always talked about having them come up to Maine for a visit sometime. Well, here they are! They’ll say they only stopped by to ask how you are but would love to stay a week or two or three if possible. You, of course, invite them in but refer them to the plaque on your wall that says: “After two days, dead fish and house guests from away aren't fun to be around.”
Now, the reason the North Pole – the one we’re nearest to – is so much warmer than the South Pole is because the North Pole has thinner ice that floats on the balmy waters of the Arctic Ocean. To get really cool you'll have to head to the South Pole which consists of mile-thick ice that sits on a very large, extremely cold mountain.
Just knowing that makes me feel good about summer here in Maine. Especially when the bubbly national weather guy tells me what the temperature is New York or Boston.
John McDonald is a humorist and storyteller who performs regularly
throughout New England. John’s e-mail address is
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