May 21, 2005

We Just Put on the Air Conditioner

First time this season -- by far the latest date of first-air-conditioner-putting-on in our nine years in Austin. Usually this ancient annual ritual is performed in late April or early May. It's been a pleasant, cool, somewhat rainy spring.

Because of the late transition, this status quo may last until October, thus obviating those in-between days when we put on the AC only during the afternoon and evening. "Should we turn it on?" "I don't know, what do you think?" "I think maybe keep the windows open till one or so." No, this time it stays on!

It has become warm enough so that your hands burn slightly upon touching the steering wheel if your car has been in the sun for more than a few minutes. But it's not yet to the point where you're steering with your fingernails. It's just the friendly warmth of a Texas welcome.

Your glasses do not yet steam up immediately upon entering the car. That will happen in June or July.

When buying frozen foods, they do not yet melt by the time you reach your parked car.

When stepping outside, you're not yet running from one patch of shade of the next.

In fact I haven't even used the car AC yet, because most of the trips I take in my 1993 Subaru are short errands.

Indeed, the weather is delightful for late May around here. It will only reach the low 90s today. When we first visited here to look for a house, Memorial Day week 1996 (last week of May for you non-US readers), the afternoon temperature was a steady 96-98 all week, under a blazing, rich blue sky. It was during a drought and our realtor told us there hadn't been a drop of rain for six months.

Average daily high temperature for the Austin-San Antonio region in July is 95-96. That includes the overcast and stormy days. Any time the sun shines, 95 is cool.

Summer is almost here, but not quite.

UPDATE: I spoke prematurely: it hit 99 after all. Typical of what happens once you get acclimated here: you're sitting in the backyard thinking, "This is pleasantly warm -- just right," and then you hear on the radio that the temprature is some ungodly number. Summer is here and it came all at once, in one day.