Just in case anyone tries to rush to judgement and suggest that I may be having a little too much Portland lovefest at the expense of all that the Twin Cities have to offer, here's a little wrench in the plan....
Today was hot by anyone's standards. Right now, it's still 81 degrees, and I'm told it was 102 today! Of course, I want to mention two interesting things about Portland weather in the summer:
1. Although it was 102, weather.com says it only feels like 99 because there's very little humidity. It's true. Yesterday, I figured the high must have only been about 85 or so, but in fact it was 94. Portland has a dry heat, and it doesn't feel so hot.
2. The hottest part of the day is at 5:00. This is always a bit surprising to me, especially on days when I'm already hot by 11:00am. I plan to be cooling down by 4:30, not still warming up.
So, today was a record-breaker. And, I was lucky enough to be on the bus with my friend Akiko at 5:00 when the record was actually in the making. As it turns out, Portland busses apparently are not accustomed to the heat, and we had to stop several times while the bus driver prevented the bus from overheating. He'd have to get out, go to the back and open something up. Then, he'd come back and rev the gas pedal for what seemed like an eternity. Cars would go flying by us, eager to get home and out of the heat. The only breeze in the bus was generated by those cars whipping around us at break neck speed. During this time, I kept thinking that the bus just felt like it was getting hotter, not cooling down, but what do I know?
Of course, this also happened to be the day that I needed to go to the store for groceries. So, when the bus needed to cool off one more time, Akiko and I got out and walked the last two blocks to the grocery store. We were hot, and after we bought our food, we decided to drink the cool beverages we'd just bought before setting out for my house.
As we sat down, we saw another bus go by. We both agreed that we should go out and wait for it to make its usual loop about a mile or so down the road. The grocery store is about 8 blocks from my house and although we could have walked the distance, we figured we could avoid walking in the heat by taking the bus. So, we stood in the shade of the bus stop and drank our cool beverages, and talked, and waited for the bus. And waited.
The bus never came. Another bus went past on the opposite side of the road. We saw a different bus line cross perpendicular to us at the cross street ahead. We waited. We talked about Akiko's sister, who has been working for the Japanese government in Afghanistan and will finally be coming back to Japan soon. Another bus went past on the opposite side of the street. Three busses out, but none returned? Maybe the heat had created a black hole at the end of the street.
Finally, Akiko and I decided we might as well walk home. As we walked, we looked back to see if the bus was coming, but every time, no bus. We enjoyed our walk because we were on the shady side of the street, and by now, it was a few hours past that five o'clock high, and the sun lowering at the horizon meant slightly cooler temperatures.
When we got to the bus stop where I catch the bus in the morning, Akiko and I decided to stop and rest on the bench there. We were there only a minute or so when there came the bus! We chuckled to ourselves as we waved it on. I couldn't help but wonder though--do the busses break down due to heat in Minneapolis?