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Coffee, Cafe, and Heat

The next morning we got up early. That was partly because we were still on Texas, i.e., Central Time, and New Mexico is Mountain Time, so we were an hour ahead. But the other reason was...alas...the heat.

Here’s where we get into that irony stuff. We had come to New Mexico at least partly to get away from the heat and humidity of Central Texas in summer. What we had forgotten, though, was that the whole western half of the country--including New Mexico--was undergoing an historic heatwave. In fact, the heatwave has already got its own Wikipedia page, “2023 Western North America heat wave.”(1) There is something terrifying in that.

The heatwave seems to have been the product of an unusual “heat dome,” that is, a high pressure system which trapped warm air over the Western and Southern states. (2) Or, at least, that’s partly true. The other, and maybe more frightening aspect of the heat wave is global warming. Simply put, the whole planet is getting hotter, and it is increasingly difficult to miss that fact.

What bothered me the entire time I was in New Mexico...and what bothers me that people do seem to be missing it. Or, rather, they elect not to see the obvious. That would seem, in the long run, to be rather deadly. (3) But more about that later.

Anyway, we discovered when we arrived in New Mexico that it was quite hot--into the triple digits. But, the advantage was that the humidity is quite low, and thus, unlike in Texas, we could get out in the morning, or after sunset, and be quite comfortable. Basically, we had a heat-window of 11 am to 6 pm when things were dreadful. Before and after that, everything was fine.

To give you an idea of how very different it was from home, consider the following: if you have a weather app on your phone (and you probably do), you can always check the current local temperature. And, as you also know, you will probably see that there is an actual temperature (80 degrees, 100 degrees, whatever) followed by a “feels like” temperature, because, of course, the higher the humidity the less you can perspire and the hotter you feel.

Thus, for example as I write this at 1:04 on August 7, 2023, here in Georgetown, it is officially 99 degrees Fahrenheit, but the humidity is 32%, and thus “it feels like” 104 degrees and my phone has so many “dangerous heat warnings” from Federal, State, and Local authorities that it looks like a psychotic Christmas tree with a tragic case of radioactive neon acne.(4)

In Albuquerque humidity usually isn’t a problem. In fact, ’tis the other way ‘round. Thus, it is the only place I’ve been where the summer “feels like” actually goes down rather than up. To give you an idea of what I mean, I’ll put a screen shot below which shows my weather app at one point during our visit to the city. You’ll notice that it says the temp is a distressing 100º...but...but! “feels like” 96º.

About the photos: First, here’s Martha at Slow Burn Coffee. Check out the mural next to the coffee roasters in the back. Second, here's the screen shot I mentioned-- New Mexico weather on the hoof.

That may be only four degrees difference, but, believe me, after Texas, and after weeks and Weeks and WEEKS of being inside with an air conditioner at all was like tap dancing outta Sing Sing after the governor sends a last minute reprieve from Mr. Edison’s Rocking Chair.(5)

Anyway, we got up and headed out for breakfast. We have a favorite cafe in the area, and whenever we stay at the Casita, we walk up for coffee and pastry at least once. This is the Slow Burn Coffee at 821 Mountain Rd NW. I wrote about this place the last time we visited New Mexico, in “Shirley’s Last Gift,” so I won’t bother to go into too much detail now. Suffice to say that much was the same -- the coffee was terrific, the pastries excellent. There was one change. They now offer breakfast burritos. Before, it had simply been the pastries...which were good, but lacking in protein.

We had a pleasant breakfast and an equally pleasant dawdle over our coffees. Then, we headed out again.  Again, it was before 11:00, so the walk was cool and pleasant. The other good news was that I seemed to have become completely readjusted to Albuquerque’s altitude. No more altitude sickness, in other words. So I can’t report any amusing stories about my doing asphalt nose dives and good stuff. Sorry. I’ll try to be more amusing next time.

But, then, after a quick brush up at the Casita, we were ready for our next adventure. Specifically, we were off to Old Town...

And to see an old friend.

Stay tuned.



2. See “Heat Dome,” Wikipedia,

3. I will write more about this later. But, for the moment, the evidence that the world’s climate is getting less hospitable is pretty strong. Yet, mostly because it is easy to deny the obvious than to deal with it, certain Powers That Be continue to pretend that nothing is happening. See, for example, this recent story in Scientific American in which we learn that the State of Florida, which is uniquely vulnerable to climate change, has recently approved the use of films in its schools that pretend that global warming is a myth. This seems to be because it benefits Governor DeSantis’ “Anti-Woke” crusade. When your state could be under water all too easily, that might not be a wise position to take: “Florida’s Department of Education has approved classroom use of videos that spout climate disinformation and distort climate science,” By Scott Waldman, Scientific American, E&E News on August 7, 2023,

5. I snitched this line from Damon Runyon. Always steal from the best.

Copyright©2024 Michael Jay Tucker


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