Tuesday, July 20, 2010
When summer sucks
I guess for me the tipping point came as the checker-sized spider began its descent into my beer mug. That’s when I thought, “Gee, I’m looking forward to winter.”
It’s been five months since I was last up to my butt cheeks in snow and five months hence from when I could again be in that same bitter situation.
Happens all the time. I get fed up with what I once craved and begin yearning for what I used to loath.
The realization makes me want to secure weights to my torso and dive off a boat in the center of a very deep lake.
Here in western Pennsylvania we are blessed with four robust seasons -- and I love something about each of them.
But I resent the extremes mingled amidst the splendid moderation, clear skies and low humidity.
There are, I think, on average about nine whole days of that.
I’ve tried to weigh the conditions and determine which extreme makes me more miserable.
Right now, my misery meters are all flashing red, as are unprotected patches of my farmer’s tan.
On top of the recent heat wave, we’ve been two weeks now without air conditioning. That’s not as bad as it sounds.
We live up in the woods where it’s shady and cool. Even with a functioning air conditioner, we’d only be running it from about 4 to 7 p.m. to keep the day’s heat at bay and ready the house for comfortable slumber.
The worst part is that it’s noticeably cooler by about 3-degrees outside where a light breeze might ruffle the leaves. It be mostly pleasant if not for all the bees, spiders and mosquitos.
“Watch out! Everything that moves out here will either bite ya, stab ya or stick ya!”
That’s what Rooster Cogburn warned in “True Grit.”
It was true of the Wild West and it was true Saturday evening when my wife and I opened a bottle of wine to sip on the porch after our itchy little kids had gone to sleep.
It should have been the perfect antidote to all my agitation.
Instead, it only made things worse.
Bugs sturdy enough to penetrate the humidity commenced their assault. Nearby, mentally deficient neighbors began lighting cheap firecrackers. There would be no relaxing, no romance.
This is the primal edge winter has over summer. Cold induces snuggling. Heat impedes it.
Winter affords us a caveman comfort with plenty of soulful solace.
We huddle around the hearth, sip hot chocolate and settle in for a long day of family TV. Photoshop Lassie in the corner and the tableau would be heartwarming enough to sell war bonds.
In fact, winter’s main problem is an excess of cabin fever solace.
I think of this on the porch as I watch my family behave as if it has joined one of those self-flagellation sects.
Val’s rhythmically slapping random parts of herself. The oldest daughter seems intent on impressing us with her coordination by using her right hand to slap insects lighting on her belly while her left hand scratches her right shoulder.
The youngest, God help her, is running in circles trying to scratch an unreachable back itch. She reminds me Curley, everyone’s favorite Stooge, running circles on the floor.
I don’t notice the spider until is is about two inches from my nose and making a cross-insect bee line for my beer. I’m hypnotized by the exotic bug and outraged that it might take my beer without seeking permission.
Josie sees it and screams.
The shout shakes me free of my stupor. I bring my hands together like mighty invisible crash cymbals. Bug guts fly and the still twitching octoped lands in my Yuengling.
With a stony calm I hope she’ll recall when she thinks about doing things that upset me like go on a date, I ask Josie to dispose of the beer and fetch me a fresh one.
The girls wisely keep their distance the rest of the stifling night.
And that’s my tipping point. I’ve had it with summer.
And I reserve the right to reverse this complaint in five months when the snows are up to my ass and the family solace is practically streaming out my wazoo.