July is a sweltering time in Toronto. We’ve been under heat advisories regularly over the last few weeks. While I’m lucky enough to have home air conditioning, there are still plenty of places in this city that don’t have that luxury.
Or, if they do, they don’t particularly work well during a heat wave.
The place where I do our laundry is one example of this.
Imagine trying to cool a place where a few dozen washers and dryers are nearly always running from early morning until very late at night. Usually there are people in there waiting for an empty machine, chatting with friends, or folding their laundry as well.
It’s comfortably warm in the winter, but it’s a sauna there in the summer even with fans blowing and doors left open to catch any stray breeze that might stop by for a visit.
By the time our loads were washed and dried, all of the stuff I was wearing was soaked with sweat and sticking to my still-wet skin. Even with the water breaks I took while our clothes were being laundered, I was hot and terribly thirsty by the time I arrived home again.
Laundry days like this one make me really grateful to be back in air conditioning again. I drank as much water as my stomach could stand and prepared to go outside for the first time today. Given how miserable the laundry room was, I assumed it would be even worse outside.
There were things to do out there, though, and it was better to get them done early before the heat and humidity grew any worse.
So imagine my surprise when I stepped outside and felt a warm but not stifling breeze on my face. It was humid, but much less humid than it had been in the place where I’d done laundry. The temperature outdoors felt 10 or 15 degrees cooler than where I was earlier as well.
Once I thought about all of those hot machines running nearly all of the time in a small space that isn’t particularly well-ventilated it made sense. All of the heat from the warm bodies of people moving around in there and the washers and the dryers that they use has to go somewhere. I could see it building up very quickly.
But it was still interesting to realize that it’s not always as hot as it seems.
What have you learned lately that surprised you?