How to Tame the “Dog Days of Summer”
Those of you who are antiquities majors already know this, but for the rest of us it may surprise that the “dog days of summer” goes back to Greek and Roman times. They associated the hot, humid days of July and August with the rise of Sirius, the dog star, during that same time. The “dog days” are named after the “dog star.”
Wikipedia quotes Brady’s 1813 Clavis Calendaria about the evil dog days being a time when “the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, bysterics, and phrensies.” This sounds a little extreme, but many of us have experienced a short temper caused by inescapable heat.
Our friends back East know from sorry experience that the dog days of summer means sultry heat so powerful you want to live in an air conditioned ice cream store, full time. Even little movements outdoors are punished by rivulets of perspiration that paste your clothes to your body, and the wind’s cooling effect is negated by the dew point.
Out here on the coast we normally don’t have “dog days” in this sense. But we were in Southern Cal last week, idling on the 405 freeway, with the same kind of clinging hot, humid air around us. The monsoon winds had brought the warmth and moisture of the Baja to us, and with them, the dog days found us.
So, how do you cope with the discomfort of the dog days?
The Romans, always good planners, sacrificed a red dog in April to appeal to Sirius to skip the summer heat for that year. We don’t know for sure why the dog had to be red (you can imagine some reasons), but its sacrifice probably didn’t have much effect on the August weather.
For us, the easy answer to the dog days is just to be in Pismo Beach. Even when our weather gets a little monsoon breeze, the air is cool to the touch. At the same time last week when people in Paso Robles were getting high 90’s and 100’s with humidity, we were chilling on the beach in the 70’s.
If it’s unpleasant to be outdoors where you are, come see us.
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