All wet

The humidity here isn’t merely a statistical aspect of the weather, like the temperature and the times of the sunrise and sunset. It’s different from the forecast, which is about the future and therefore, abstract.

The humidity is here and now, real and concrete. On some days, it feels like the most important fact of living in the New York area. When you lie awake at night, clammy but too hot to pull the sheet over you; when you walk a block and find an oily sheen on your face and a sticky layer all over your body; when you step out of the air-conditioned subway car and the station feels like a hot wet sponge that you’re trying to walk through; that’s when you know that humidity isn’t part of the weather, It’s its own ugly beast.

That’s what it’s like today. I’m in Manhattan at the Buddhist Temple of New York on the upper west side (105th and Riverside Dr.), waiting for the bus to a group of us to an “obon” festival in Seabrook, NJ. And every movement is like trying to slip out of a wrestling hold, and demon humidity has the upper hand.

Even the slightest breeze in the heavy air is a welcome respite from the drenching and oppressive atmosphere.

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