An open letter to Oklahoma Weather
A freshman from Southeast Asia, I had no idea what I was in for when I decided to enroll at OBU. I knew, first of all, that I was attending a four-year school to get a bachelor’s degree; I knew that I would make new friends; I knew that I would make some memories; I had no clue, however, that your weather would be something entirely foreign to me.
One would think that I, coming from tropical Southeast Asia, would have expected–or, at the very least, even considered–that your weather would be different. Very few places are like the tropics, a region known for its dependability in being hot and suffocatingly humid or hot and drowning-ly humid. Of course, like any place, there are weather changes: monsoon winds arrive each year, bringing in tow torrents of rain that would almost make one look for an ark on the horizon. Like any self-respecting city, my home has its pollution (primarily a result of Indonesian farmers burning fields according to the slash-and-burn method of farming) and haze.
Southeast Asian weather taught me to bear heat. Unlike your heat, Dear Oklahoma, the heat I am used to is humid, an entirely different animal than dry heat. Humid heat penetrates even your bones. Like a dense fog, it covers everything with no hope of escape except for the refuge of air-conditioning. It teaches you to grow accustomed to that uncomfortable bead of sweat trailing its way down your back at the most inconvenient of times. It teaches you to hide from the noonday sun that blinds you with, you guessed it, more heat.
As I signed my next four years away, I was in no small way looking forward to something other than heat. I considered all the drenched shirts and buckets of sweat I had known and thought that it was high-time for change. I was a fool.
The first thing I noticed after setting foot on campus was your wind, that silent but ever-present acquaintance who stalks you like an obscure relative on Facebook. Granted, some days have surprisingly little wind (for which I am grateful), but those days, those stealthy traps that come quietly and sneak up on you when you are least prepared, eventually come, the wind roaring as if a legion of giants, bored from a day of doing nothing, decided to terrorize Oklahomans by blowing as hard as they could. It makes me laugh when I remember that I used to call the gentle ocean breeze “wind.”
The weather you throw at us is some of the most bizarre, patternless, and chaotic I have ever seen. You have certainly made waking up in the morning an adventure. I used to throw on some clothes without a second thought; now I check the weather, throw on some clothes, and have a second, third, and fourth thought. Everyday my heart flutters as I push open the heavy, glass doors to leave Agee, my mind and body unconsciously bracing for impact. On warm days with gentle wind, a wild celebration kicks off mentally. On cold days with winds like giants belching . . .
Like those brave men and women before me, I have tried, in vain, to understand you and have had no more success than in my endeavors to understand the nobler sex. You’re complicated. I’ve spent many an hour chatting with seasoned Oklahomans about the weather and found out that that there is no “usual” with Oklahoma weather; there just “is.”
I suppose three options lie open before me: first, I could pursue still further the secrets of Oklahoma weather; second, I could give up the chase, resign myself to uncertainty, and rise to adventure each morning to greet the weather; and third, I could hit my head against the wall a few times and shed a few tears of frustration.
Of course, the best option is clear: slamming my head against a wall as I were trying to drive a nail with my forehead.
A Tropical Ice Cube