Time for Slime


I could have been Rip Van Winkle, asleep in the Willowdale State Forest for the past several centuries, and if I happened to wake up this week, I would still be able to say, without any doubt or hesitation, “It’s August.”

Why? Because it’s so gosh-darn humid.

This is that time of year, ain’t it.

Where I used to live, in the vast dusty sprawl of Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, there was never any humidity in the air except for these few days of the waning summer. This was known as “monsoon season.” Massive vertical thunderclouds, like gangs of dark gray Stay-Puft Marshmallow Men, would assemble around the perimeter of the valley every afternoon, then march in on us. Soon it was all howling winds and pounding rain and Zeus-quality lightning — but only for about 12 minutes. Then it was back to the “sultry” setting, until the following afternoon, when it all began again.

Here in Ipswich, we don’t seem to be on such a rigid schedule. Some days we get sunshine and humidity. Other days we get clouds and humidity. Some days we get intermittent rain, alternating with humidity. Some days it’s a steady, soaking rain, punctuated with humidity. Otherwise it’s a pounding, thunderous rain, interspersed with humidity. Some days we get seemingly random assortments of all three — with humidity. See the pattern here? Humidity.

After nearly a quarter-century in the desert, my body has forgotten how to process humidity. My skin is not accustomed to slime forming out of thin air. Well, I take that back. The air in Ipswich these days is not remotely thin. It’s thick. I’ve heard it called “velvet.” I would lean more to “sludge.”

Ipswich is humid, my friends. It’s sticky. Sodden. Muggy. Moist. It’s dank. The air is practically viscous. I don’t mean to overstate it, but it’s so humid in Ipswich, it’s like breathing warm milk.

It’s so humid, dragonflies are wearing tiny little diver’s masks in order to breathe.

It’s so humid, volunteers have been scheduled to show up four times a day and towel off the Linebrook construction guys.

It’s so humid, mosquitoes can’t tell what’s blood and what’s air.

It’s so humid, children are getting soaked at Hood Pond without going into the water.

It’s so humid, Ipswich Town Emergency telephone alerts gurgle.

I sat on a bench in my backyard, and it was so slippery I slid off.

A crow who hangs out in my backyard tried to say “Caw! Caw!” and it came out “Glaw! Glaw!” He’s started smoking cigarettes just to dry out his lungs.

It’s so humid, stop signs are sweating and streetlights are steaming.

It’s so humid, I have to scrape off the mold before I use my Weber grill.

It’s so humid, clams are steaming themselves.

It’s so humid, the gloppy asphalt utilized to fill potholes can’t dry, turning each one into a mini-quicksand hazard.

It’s so humid, my mail is wilted by the time I get to the mailbox. I have to wring out my Ipswich Chronicle before I read it.

It’s so humid, mothers wiping their babies’ noses can’t tell what’s snot and what’s not.

It’s so humid, our cat melted.

See what I mean? It’s humid here.

OK, sorry; I apologize. You’re right: I’m exaggerating. Clams aren’t really steaming themselves.



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