Ryn Gargulinski : Local Columnist
Summer is still a few days away, but that means nothing to New Mexico.
Temperatures have already blasted well beyond the “comfort zone” defined by local meteorologists as 82.61347 degrees, and the High Plains has already seen high digits, often going triple.
It’s a “dry heat” locals say, not as oppressive as those muggy East Coast Augusts or the stifling humidity of Southern California.
But it can still make one faint, pant or otherwise grab for anything that looks remotely cool and wet — even if it’s caked with dirt and lying on the side of the road.
Rather than spending the season crouched with an ice pack in a shady spot, which is pretty hard to come by in the treeless plains, there are other ways to beat the sweltering heat. Or at least get through it without those annoying things called heat stroke or death.
The first step is mechanical. Check the air conditioner or swamp cooler or whatever other device is installed to cool the house.
I’m sorry if it’s merely a fan.
Make sure it’s plugged in and not clogged with dirty water, a filthy filter or a family of mice who have nested there through winter.
When turning on a fan, keep hands, feet, pets and wayward hair strands out of its path. A woman was once severely injured from getting her bangs caught in a ceiling fan.
Also make sure, if others live in the house, they are not sent into a deep freeze just because you think the thermostat should be set in the mid-50s.
Every summer with a past roommate included the “air conditioning wars.” They were a series of battles based on apartment temperature that often got more violent than a hockey game parking lot in Edmonton, Alberta.
To make my point, I sat around in a hooded fleece parka attempting to entice a family of mice to nest in the AC unit.
His argument was based on anatomy: “If you’re cold, you can put on a sweater, but if you’re hot you can’t take off your skin!”
He had a point, but as one of those wars heated up, I was definitely tempted to try the skinning route.
Interior meteorologists define the indoor “comfort zone” as 70.0018. Dip to the 60s if the day was spent bone hunting in the sun. But turn it back up after a shower.
Water is another way to effectively cool down. Carry a spray bottle filled with ice cubes, which will surely be melted by the time it’s needed to spray on the face, neck, armpits or other body parts screaming for relief.
Hydrologist meteorologists say the “comfort zone” of spray bottle water should be 22.1006 degrees. Note this is below freezing, but recall the bottle includes ice cubes.
A final way to endure the heat is to simply go metric.
Heck, it’s not 110 degrees — European meteorologists point out it’s a pleasant 43.33333.
And that’s downright comfortable.
Ryn Gargulinski writes for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. Contact her at: