At the risk of alienating 99% of schoolchildren, and 100% of teachers, I’ve got to say this: I hate summer. I really hate it. If it were up to me, I’d be put in a medically induced coma with a note pinned to my sleeve, “Wake me in October.” Oh, you’re probably thinking, “What? What about barbecues and picnics and days on the beach?” Nope. Don’t like ‘em. I live in El Cajon, where it can be 114º in July.
I don’t like to be hot. That’s the main thing. Hot. Over 80 degrees is too hot for me. When it’s a hundred degrees plus for days and days in mid-August, it’s just too much. I can’t take it. Sure, I could go inside and run the air conditioning, but I have to go outside sometime, if only to go and get supplies before I hole up in the house for the duration.
When it’s cold, I can put on a sweater or a jacket or snuggle up with a blanket. When it’s hot, there’s no escaping it. I can’t take off enough clothes. I really don’t want my neighbors to see me naked, so even shorts show too much skin. These pasty white legs belong under a nice pair of jeans, thank you very much, and I’d just as soon not show off my flabby triceps in a sleeveless blouse. Michelle Obama is a real inspiration with her nice toned arms, but I’m afraid it’s too late for me.
I hate it when it’s too hot to cook. Can’t even think about heating up the kitchen with a roast beef or a pot of boiling pasta. And who wants to eat a steaming bowl of soup when it’s steaming outside? Give me a cool, rainy day and I’ll whip up a meatloaf or stroganoff, maybe even bake a pie. But in the middle of summer, if I can’t make it in the microwave or put it on the barbecue, I’m not cooking.
I’m not cleaning house either. We can be up to our knees in dog hair; I’m not running the vacuum and risk getting heat stroke. Washing windows? Forget about it! I’ve got my head in the refrigerator. Laundry? We’re supposed to be saving electricity, so if I’ve got to choose, I choose air conditioning.
Summer TV sucks. There’s no America Idol or Amazing Race or Survivor. I’ve seen every episode of any series that I watch—I have DVR. And who wants to watch reruns of Ellen or Oprah? Even the news seems to be the same every day. Frying an egg on the sidewalk; Padres in last place again; 90º today--“How long will it last?” You can’t convince me that they aren’t slipping in a repeat of the news once in awhile.
I hate it when it’s too hot to sleep. Unless you want to run the air conditioner 24/7, there comes a point in the evening when I have to turn it off. So I crack open a window, which has its own problems, such as kids next door playing basketball into all hours of the night, barking dogs, cars on the street with their boom boxes on 11, and still it’s too hot. And forget about going to bed for “other things” (wink-wink.) I just want to lie still on top of the sheets and try real hard to keep from sweating. “Don’t come near me with your 98.6 ° body,” I say.
Around the first of May, I start trying to think of all the good things about summer, thinking maybe this year I will feel differently. So I make a list:
Summer fruit: Peaches, plums, apricots and cherries, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew and casabas. Yum!
Barbecues: Get-togethers with friends, cooking hamburgers and hot dogs. A cold beer on a warm evening.
Vegetable gardens: Homegrown tomatoes. Mountains of zucchini.
Flowers: Every kind of flower blooms in summer.
The long evenings: It’s still light when my husband comes home from work.
The Del Mar Fair: OMG, the cinnamon rolls; the Home & Hobby exhibits; the whiz-bang slicers, dicers, and miracle cleaners, face creams and diet products; the pigs and chickens; not to mention the deep fried Snickers bars.
So, OK, there are a couple of things I like about summer. Maybe I can cope. I could do like the Native Americans did, and retreat into the mountains. I could construct a special haz-mat suit with its own air-conditioning to keep me cool all summer. I could move into Michael’s Craft Store where it’s always at least a season or two ahead. They put out the fall décor in June and the Christmas stuff by the 4th of July.
Or I could just move about 20 miles west. It’s not really summer I don’t like; it’s summer in El Cajon. San Diego was #3 on a list of the coolest cities in the US during the summer. Seattle is #2, topped by the coldest place on earth (even colder than Antarctica), San Francisco. I’d better quit my bitchin’. There’s no place like home. It could be worst. I could live in Phoenix.