I live on a tropical island. It’s absolutely stunning, paradise at its finest. Some even say I am living the dream. Aside from the drought earlier this year, St John is perpetually lush and green, too beautiful for words. However, one of the challenges of living on an island is the unbearable heat during this time of the year.
I am not a violent person, but this island heat is about to make me hurt someone. I’m not sure who, and I’m not sure why, but there is definitely a crime in the works. The heat is making me crazy, so I’m worried for everyone’s safety, including my own.
I see from my Weather.com app that it is rainy and dreary in Charlotte, where I lived the past 14 years. And Facebook and Instagram confirm that people are indeed tired of the gloominess. I understand. I would be losing my mind there too.
Which has me wondering… Am I someone who can only thrive in weather that’s 80° and sunny? In my former life, I definitely felt the effects of the “winter blues.” I diagnosed myself with Seasonal Affective Disorder and literally counted down the days until winter would give way to spring, which was interesting always fairly short-lived in North Carolina. Most years we jumped right from winter to summer.
And trust me, it was hot in North Carolina. In fact, I’m convinced that June, July, and August may even be hotter there than it is on St. John. During those months, we still have somewhat of a breeze on the rock and the water is refreshing when you want to take a dip.
Here’s the key difference between excruciatingly hot months in the states versus on the island: air conditioning. In North Carolina, like everywhere else in the states that I’m aware of, there is a nonstop flow of cold air cooling down your home, your office, your car, and everywhere that you could possibly think of going. If the heat index is 105°, you best believe you can get inside and cool off. You might even get cold!
Here, though, it’s October, probably the hottest month of the year except for maybe November ironically, and we are all just sweating non stop. You can choose to go out to dinner to a nice (and pricey) restaurant, but instead of taking a light sweater because it may be cool inside, you can just count on eating and sweating simultaneously. Yes, we pay good money to eat while we sweat!
Let’s say you want to meet a friend for a cocktail, because happy hour is almost everyone’s favorite hobby on the island, all of the bars are open air, which means sweat, sweat, and more sweat.
Maybe your shopaholic tendencies rear their ugly head and you want to get out and do a little shopping at one of the few stores on island. There’s probably no AC in the store, or there’s a good chance it’s broken if there ever was any. You may choose to try on something in said store, but beware… It’s harder to get clothes on and off when you’re a sweaty mess. And my advice is to try not to think of the sweaty people who tried the garments on before you. Better just hang the clothes back up and try again another day.
What if you decide that you want to actually try to look decent? You may commit to spending fifteen extra minutes putting a little make up on. You may have a dear friend who is a stylist and who actually is kind enough to give you a beautiful blowout. Your hair and make up may actually stay intact while you’re in your apartment if you’re running your AC. But the moment you step outside, all bets are off. You, like everyone else, will become a sweaty mess in twenty minutes flat. Guaranteed.
Don’t even get me started about trying to take your dog for a walk or getting motivated to do some sort of a workout. And please, don’t even think for a second that you can convince me to cook a healthy dinner since I’m clearly not going to work out. Turning the stove or oven on is just a silly idea.
Since it’s only the beginning of October, I know I’ve got several more weeks of these draining temperatures and the out of control heat index. I will try to survive by keeping hydrated, wearing less clothes, and bracing myself for scary utility bills.
I’m not sure what is fashionable in the states right now; each year the fashion industry tells us that we need to be buying the “it” color of the season. I am over “island clothes” and since it’s too hot to shop anyway, I’ve decided that for this island girl, sweat is the new black.
On a positive note, it’s October, and I still have a great tan to go along with my mosquito bites. I took my dogs to the beach today, and they swam while I sweated.
I took a fabulous nap, because nobody really expected me to do anything else.
If I should get up the motivation to leave my house, it takes me no time to get ready since I’m mastering the art of messy buns. And best of all, there’s no sign of winter blues anywhere in sight.
Ashley Cates, St. John, USVI Blogger