Oddly enough, some of the biggest changes we felt moving to Vancouver from Boston were the weather.
First it was the weather patterns themselves. Boston’s weather was mercurial — not in terms of moving the mercury of the thermometer around a lot (although it did, to a degree), but in the true sense of the word. The days were changeable, constantly varying, unpredictable, which is why having portable air conditioners was not a choice but a necessity. The old joke went: If you don’t like the weather in Boston, wait 5 minutes. Vancouver introduced us to the meteorological equivalent of the long now. Is today sunny and pleasant? Then that’s how it will be outside, for a couple of weeks. Is it dark and rainy? Then expect the same for the rest of the month. Weather here doesn’t really change here; it slowly morphs from one steady state to another. If climate could be say, musical styles, then Boston weather was Miles Davis doing be-bop. Vancouver weather is Bruckner, or perhaps Philip Glass.
The second change was, of course, the different winters. In Boston, December through March was snowy, cold, and dark, with occasional invigorating, bright white days. Here, it is milder, rarely getting below freezing for more than a dozen hours, but accompanied by nearly constant rain and darkness. I thought that the latter might bring back my Seasonal Affective Disorder, which (I now know in retrospect) doomed much of the time I lived in Rochester, New York years ago to endless depression. Fortunately, I seem to have avoided a relapse, at least this year. (We’ll have to see about next year).
The third big difference has been this week. It’s not really the weather, but peoples’ reaction to it. For a few days now, the temperature has been in the mid to upper 20’s (Centigrade — that would be high 70s to low 80s in Fahrenheit). Everyone I’ve talked to here has been acting as if it was an oven out there. In Boston, these days would be the relief, not the punishment. The low humidity as well as cool breezes off the ocean make for utterly pleasant days, but to talk to some in my office or neighbors, you’d think we’re spending a week in Hades. I’ve been accused of being a bit fussy about temperature (Pam insists on the ‘Mind over Matter’), but sometimes I wonder if anyone here (except those from back East, of course), really knows what hot truly is.
True, there is less air conditioning here, although Pam and I both experience it at work. Here at home, we face north, and get no direct sun, so we no longer experience the sieges we used to have when we’d get one of those Boston heat waves (and our poor air conditioner couldn’t get the cold air to the top floor, where we tried to sleep.) I have no doubts whatsoever that Global Warming will be in effect for the rest of my life, regardless of any changes in the use of fossil fuels or other activities that might turn things around some day. If this was a hot summer, and the next decades will make them hotter still, I’m glad that I’ve at least moved northward. Who knows, in 20 years, the new temperate zone that we move to for retirement may be the Nunavut Territory.