Thursday, August 30, 2012

On 86% Humidity

When desert air is humid:
  
 
1.  Slog, don't jog.
2.  Cover your knees and shoulders (remember you're in Doha).
3.  Bring water, duh.
4.  Expect to sweat (wear inappropriate absorbent attire under tee).
5.  Sunglasses necessary.
6.  Carry a towel.
 
Because it's not just "hot."  It's not just "humid."  It's breathing melted cheese while jogging underwater inside a sauna.  It's a Phoenix, Arizona summer cuddled up to a Riverside, California smog alert.  Really, you shouldn't be outside at all when the air is this thick.  A few things about 86% humidity: 
  • air is heavy, tangible, thick, wet:  99 fahrenheit with humidity equals 128 "real feel" degrees
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  • water blankets the city, shrouds the skyline, fills lungs
  •  
  • moisture streaks windows, waterfalls to pavement, creates moats
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  • soaked cotton glues to skin, burps when tugged
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  • air pudding coats lung lining like cake batter in a bowl...complicates breathing
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  • slippery skin glistens with drops drip-drip-dripping from nose-elbow-fingertips (ick)
  •  
  • enter a cold space and sweat crystalizes, flakes to the floor like summer snow (double ick)
  • puddles form on concrete, ears clog, glasses and phones fog
  • the world is a heady mix of locker room and air freshener - a sweet, acrid, salty perfume
This is the time of year that loosely worn abayas, dishdashas and gallabeas make sense.  Strangely, the more you wear the more comfortable you are: skin is sun protected, air moves, sweat dries, stains don't show.

As long as you spend most of the day...indoors.

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