500 (Million) Days of Summer
I've never really understood why so many people retire to the South. I get the "I couldn't stand the thought of one more winter" mindset, but do they not realize what they are exchanging it for? And is it worth it?
I walked outside with the dog this morning. It had stormed earlier, and the oppressive, wet heat hit me as soon as I opened the door. I could see the moisture rising off the sidewalk, but thankfully Brody did his business quickly, and we headed back inside where I have the thermostat set on "morgue".
Summer is technically from mid June to mid September, but we all know that in this part of the country, Summer can start anywhere from mid-April and last until Halloween. We are all excited when the weather first starts warming up, the birds are chirping, and everything blossoms and then turns a vibrant green. For some of us, though, we know what's coming, and we live each day with a sense of dread.
Now, for those of you who live on the ocean or have a pool, let's just say that, well.....how do I put this? You don't count. Not even a little bit. Even in the dog days of summer, those of you who live on the beach have a nice breeze when you walk out on your deck, and can take a dip in the ocean any time you want which, by this time of year, feels like bath water. But I wouldn't know that, because I never go to the beach. My son's first year at Cornell will be cheaper than a summer of parking at the beach once or twice a week. (Not to mention the fact that I have a parking ticket leftover from a friend's wedding that I still haven't paid) On the other hand, living on the ocean is an annual crapshoot, so I imagine you sit on your deck with your chardonnay, holding your breath between sips and praying a hurricane doesn't come through.
The first time I hear the cicadas running their fat mouths, my eyes become semi-permanently rolled upward for a solid four months. This sound means it ain't nothin' but hot. When you hear it, it's best to go ahead and turn your thermostat down to 65, sling a bag of ice pops in the fridge, and stock up on deodorant (which really isn't going to work anyway). If you've got curly hair like me, just go ahead and either toss your hair products in the dumpster or repurpose them by placing them around the house to catch all the flies and gnats that somehow make it into your home. You're not going to need that shit til November.
Then there's the sweat. I took a shower yesterday morning then headed over to visit my granddaughter. In the ten seconds I spent walking between my apartment and the car, then the car to their apartment, I felt like I had one epic hot flash. To make things worse, I made the mistake of wearing a shirt that I had accidentally left in the dryer, not realizing it was still damp. You know that sickly sweet smell of the locker room in middle school? Imagine it following you around wherever you go.
As far as entertaining goes, people who give outdoor parties in July and August should be drawn and quartered. I appreciate your invite, Becky, but if my social anxiety weren't enough to keep me home, the thought of putting makeup on only to have it slide off my face and into my delicately balanced plate of cucumber sandwiches is just not my idea of a fun evening.
As I type this, though, I'm reminded of the one thing I absolutely love about Summer. The storms. It has been storming off and on all day, and I find such comfort in it. I can hear the steady rain hitting my windows, and soft thunder in the distance. There's just something so relaxing about it, especially in the middle of the night. The thing about most summer thunderstorms is that they pass through quickly, and when the sun comes back out it's even hotter than it was before, so was it really worth it?
Which brings me to the bane of every Southerner's existence. Hurricane season. Pardon the pun, but it really blows. Granted, I would much rather live here than in the Midwest where tornadoes give the residents very little warning, or California, where they experience earthquakes with no warning whatsoever! For the most part, we know when a hurricane or tropical storm is headed our way, and we can prepare. We've also learned the hard way that even if it's not projected to make a direct hit, we had better be prepared for it to make a sudden jolt to the left (remember Hugo?). There are those freaks out there who prepare their hurricane kits each May, but normal people wait until we're under a hurricane watch to race to the store and climb over people for food and water like it was Black Friday and we just have to have that 70 inch 4k HD television.
Personally, hurricanes don't scare me. I live in midtown, my building doesn't have trees close to the building, and it's just me, so honestly I can just pop a few Ambien and sleep through the worst of it. I actually think it's kind of amazing to watch Mother Nature do her thing. It's the aftermath. THE AFTERMATH. Once the storm passes we are left with downed trees, flooding, and more often than not, no power. The heat is like being thrust into the ninth circle of Hell, and the sound of chainsaws is so overbearing it's like Mother Nature got so excited at what she had done that she had to whip out her vibrator. I realize these are first world problems, but to me there is nothing more annoying than being stuck in my apartment for a week with two animals and no a/c, when I can look right across the street and see lights. I've come real close to packing up the "kids" and banging on their front door, demanding to share in their air conditioning and hurricane snacks, which they no longer need because they can cook whatever they want.
I don't mean to be a killjoy for those who love the hot months. More power to you. Just know that my turn is coming, in the form of colorful leaves, sweaters, and pumpkin spice EVERYTHING. So enjoy your pools, beaches, and boats while you can. My turn is coming.