Hot topic: How are you beating the heat?

“It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” Around this time of year, people toss this aphorism around as if its mere utterance will impart some kind of divine revelation upon those who hear it, making the weather suddenly bearable. (A note to these people: It doesn’t work so stop saying it, because, every time you do say it, your friends like you less and less.)

Obviously, I have not been enjoying the current mugginess that has plagued our region for the last couple of weeks. As I write this column, I am sitting in the air-conditioned comfort of my Undisclosed Writing Location watching the world outside my window slowly melt.

I’m no fan of air conditioners either, but my initial pledge to go AC-free this summer was abandoned after several uncomfortable and sleepless nights. Now, I’m addicted. While I’ve been doing my best to be efficient and limit its use (though, I am skeptical of the efficiency of my unit’s “energy saver” mode) – I have found myself secretly reveling in its splendor.

But it’s not so bad. As one friend was quick to remind me, there will be snow on the ground soon enough so we should all just be grateful for whatever warm weather we get. Good point, but right now, the prospect of an arctic blast is very appealing.

I wanted to know how much more of this weather we would have to endure. Fortunately, I know a meteorologist. Kerrin Jeromin is a Chittenden native and meteorologist for Fox44 in Burlington. If anyone had an answer to when the humidity would break, it would be she.

“There’s no real answer for the humidity question,” she said apologetically. “In Vermont, it really just comes and goes.”

To beat the heat, Kerrin said like to spend time by the water — Lake Champlain when in Burlington and Bomoseen when she returns to Rutland. She also likes the occasional hike on a hot day. This might sound like the last thing you’d want to do in 8,000-percent humidity, but she noted that it’s a good way to escape the valley heat.

“And the views from the peaks are gorgeous,” she added.

So how are others beating the heat around Rutland? I decided to ask around.

Responses ranged from helpful and creative to sarcastic, surly and downright bizarre (I’m attributing the latter to the heat).

Case in point: Olivia Gawet was uncharacteristically terse with her suggestion that the best way to beat the heat is “with a stick.”

India Burnett Farmer, co-owner of Northeastern Vine Supply in West Pawlet, was more sanguine. “Cold beer and a light picnic at the river,” she said. “The air is always cooler, and if you’re really brave, the cold water is an instant pick-me-up.”

Kerrin already mentioned Bomoseen. During the summer, Bomo is lousy with Rutland families who have abandoned the “city” for lakeside camps, lazy days on the boat, and sunset cocktails at the Lake House.

For other natural respites from the heat, we have White Rocks in Wallingford, Chittenden Dam, Clarendon Gorge and a number of other swimming holes that the locals like to frequent. And don’t forget Whites and Northwood Pools, which are a favorite oasis of young families.

Indeed, pools were a popular pick among my friends as well. One suggested making friends with people who have pools.

“Can we go swimming at your place later?” a follow-up text message asked me.

Another friend, who responded from poolside, cheekily advocated skinny-dipping. She also wanted to buy a Slip ’n Slide. For obvious reasons, she did not recommend combining the two.

However the oddest response went to yet another friend who liked to hang out in grocery stores on hot days. (That was the bizarre one.)

“It’s always cold in there,” he said. While this is true, I am not about to spend my summer in the produce section of Price Chopper.

Like it or not, hot, humid days are part of Vermont summers. There’s nothing we can do about it so as much as I might want to complain, I am content to take it in stride and heed the advice of my friend who reminded me that winter will be here before we know it. In the meantime, I’m content to wean myself off the AC, grab a creemee and a cocktail and ride out the rest of this hot spell next to a cool body of water.

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