Thursday, July 31, 2008

The weather, among other things.

In the Pacific Northwest, the air feels thick. It's thick with moisture and damp air. It's wet and heavy and it smells clean. Like the atmosphere just after a good rain: even though it's dense with moisture it feels healthy.

Here the air is dry. It has the texture of cardboard--almost scratchy. But it's also thick. Thick with particulate material and ozone. If you've read this blog before, you know that the weather intrigues me. The weather in Boise is so different (just beyond the obvious temperature difference) than in Portland. I pity the forecasters and meteorologists here: there's not much to report on any given day. When they pull up the illustration of the 7-day forecast, it's more of a polka-dotted line; sun's all across. Sometimes there's a cloud or the word "haze" written across the sun, or sometimes it gets down into the 80's (how we rejoice!), but so far that's been about it. You certainly don't get the surprise and variety I'm used to from Seattle and Portland.

There is one little thing that they regularly broadcast here that we didn't have in Portland: the AQI. Apparently Charlie even received e-mails at work notifying him on today's AQI status. What is it? The Air Quality Index. Remember I mentioned the raspy air with particulate and ozone? Boise is in a valley, sandwiched between two sets of mountains. As a result, we hang onto the same cruddy air for days at a time. The hotter it gets, the worse the air gets. Some days are so bad, you can barely see the foothills from downtown (it would be like not being able to see Mt. Tabor). It's like the backwash of air. So, every day we get an update on what tomorrow's predicted AQI is going to be: if it's green, we rejoice (probably means it'll also be breezy and in the 80's, too!), if it's orange, we sulk and try not to hang out too much outside (orange = unhealthy). Mostly, since we've been here it's been yellow.

It's the little things like that which make you realize that you're somewhere new. The weather report with seven looming suns. The AQI report. The fact that when I reach for a sponge to wipe down the counter, I have to run some water on it first to moisten it (otherwise it's a hard, dried-out brick). The lack of hipsters walking down the street (some might argue that this is a distinct benefit).

There are things that I really like about being here, but I think I'm still kind of in the "denial" of actually living here phase. The job market here is terrible (for me at least), and it's hard to even find things that look appealing and pay reasonably well, let along get called back for an interview. Challenging. I'm also starting to miss my little communities back home--I'm hesitant to start any volunteer opportunities here until I nail down a job for fear that my schedule won't allow me to continue. I'd rather hold out for now, rather than be a flake.

In the meantime, I'm trying to focus on the positive: I've read more of my New Yorkers than ever before, there's plenty of time to read and to internet (now that we have it!), and I've been able to spend lots of time cooking and making delicious things for us to snack on. That said, I'm ready for my purpose now, Mr. DeMille... time for a job, please. I'm hoping that will help to make Boise feel a little more like home.