Humidity of the city is just beastly

May 27, 2004|By KEVIN COWHERD

THIS ONE'S for all you newcomers to the area getting your first taste of our famous humidity and already whining about it.

Oh, you're too polite to whine right to our faces.

But we know where the conversation's going as soon as you start fanning yourself and doing that little gasping-for-breath thing.

"My, it certainly is ... sticky," you say.

Yes, we say, it certainly is.

"Very sticky," you say, tugging at your collar.

Yep, we say. And it's only May.

Finally the question we know is coming, the Big One.

"Is it always like this?" you say.

Well, not always, we say. There are two or three days in December that are OK.

And January and February ... every once in a while you'll catch a day that's under 90 degrees then, too.

But other than that, yeah, this is pretty much our typical weather.

This, of course, is not what you want to hear.

Your eyes widen with terror.

Your mouth goes dry.

You think: Dear God, what kind of a place did I move to?

You think: What is this - Guatemala by the Chesapeake?

You think: Stifling humidity, cicadas the size of cocker spaniels flying around the back yard, killer snakehead fish in the rivers - what am I doing here?

Look, we say, you gotta be tough to live in these parts.

Or you gotta do what some people around here do when it comes to humidity: pretend it doesn't exist.

Yesterday, for instance, I went down to the new $4.5 million visitor center at the Inner Harbor to see what they're telling tourists about the humidity.

And here's what they're telling them: zip, zero, nada.

In fact, it turns out that if you work for the visitor center and even mention humidity in the presence of a tourist, they will take you into a back room and beat you with a handful of brochures.

Humidity, apparently, is considered a civic negative. Keep it positive is the staff's mantra.

At the time of my visit, the humidity was already at 94 percent, and it was only mid-morning.

But when I asked Mike Pietryka, director of visitor services, if the humidity ever bothers him, his expression never changed.

"Although it can be challenging at times, it's better than rain and snow," he said.

Hearing this, I knew I was in the presence of greatness.

Someday, I thought, this man will run for office. Someday, he will run for mayor or governor or Congress.

And he'll win. He'll win big.

And when the buzzards from the media encircle him and shout: "Senator, what about your aide, who was just indicted for kickbacks?" his earlier visitor center training will kick in.

And he'll reply: "While that concerns us, it's better than murder or drug-dealing charges."

But enough about that. Let's get back to you newcomers to Maryland.

Some of you, of course, don't freak out about our humidity at all.

No, some of you go the other way. Some of you yawn and give a dismissive wave when the subject comes up.

Some of you say: "You think this is bad? You should live in New Orleans, where I lived for seven years. Now that's humidity."

Or you say: "Heck, I grew up in Miami - this stuff in Baltimore isn't humidity. It's like a cold snap, in comparison."

Fine. Whatever. Look, if feeling superior about the humidity in your old town helps you get through life, knock yourself out.

If knocking this area's humidity makes you feel like a big shot, go for it.

We're not insecure about our humidity here.

We don't need your validation, OK?

We know we've got big-league humidity.

In fact, we'll put our humidity up against any other humidity in the whole world.

Come back and see us in August.

Unless ... you're too chicken.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.