June 20 was the official first day of summer, but since Houston is an overachiever, it feels like we’ve been summering since May. Maybe even earlier. At 99 degrees, the first day of summer heat felt like the hundredth day of summer heat; it felt like floating-on-a-gondola-in-Hell-with-El-Diablo-himself-at-the-helm heat. And it’s only going to get hotter. I like to see the expressions on the faces of Newstonians when they complain about the temperature and I tell them just how much hotter. Sing it with me:
If you think you’re melting now
Wait until July, girl...
Yes, I’ve definitely got the summertime blues. I think I pass most of the day dreaming about all the places I’d rather be than in Houston during the summer. And it doesn’t help that my A/C spent the first part of June behaving like a disgruntled employee. These last two weeks, I’ve left the house maybe five times — not including gym visits (the gym has great A/C!). My hibernation has been one part recharging from a busy spring and three parts “it’s too damn hot out.” I went for a run in my neighborhood last Monday and promptly decided it would be my last until fall. I was bummed because I love my outdoor runs. Unfortunately, I don’t love them quite enough to run at o-dark-thirty when the temperature is lower. Not that a few degrees would make much of a difference anyway. And did I mention my A/C was on the fritz earlier this month?
I haven’t always been such a mope about summer. When I was a kid, it was my favorite season. If I wasn’t playing outside with friends all day — only coming inside for the occasional Kool-Aid break or to inhale a bologna sandwich — I was maxing out my library card every two weeks. Forget Christmas. Summer was the most wonderful time of the year! The summers of my childhood were orange popsicles and Faygo Red Pop, cicadas and splashing water; they were amusement parks, drive-in movies, and family picnics. I never let the heat get me down. Could be I had more energy. Or maybe it wasn’t as hot then as it is now (thanks, global warming). It could also be that I was having such a great time, being hot was an afterthought. Either way, summer meant “fun.” It meant “carefree.”
Even as a young adult and into my late 30s, I still looked forward to summer and all that could happen. Vactions. Trips to the beach with a cooler of ice-cold beer. Meeting friends for happy hour when it was still light outside. Going to the bookstore to stock up on summer reading. Cookouts and cocktail parties. Summer was still hot, but it was also sexy.
So when did I become such a grump about it? When did I lose that summer feelin’? And more important, how can I get it back?
This morning I told myself enough is enough. The heat isn’t going anywhere and (at least in the short term) neither am I. I need to recalibrate, to fixate less on what I dislike about summer (the face-melting heat) and more on the things I enjoy. Things like relaxing with loved ones, binge reading, poolside lounging, sweet cherries, Hugos (recipe here), tan lines, fruit salad, rosé, backless dresses, art gallery wandering, vegan ice cream sundaes, road trips, gingham, cucumber water with mint, mangoes, floppy hats, gin gimlets, jasmine-scented everything, bright sandals, vitamin D from the sun, the call of seagulls, chambray, summer TV shows, napping during summer showers, cold and crunchy salads, and of course, MY JULY JOILY BIRTHDAY!
As I focus on all there is to appreciate about the season, I realize I can reinvent summer for myself. So what if I no longer have the infinite energy of childhood? Who cares if it’s hot out? Summer and I used to be an item and if I try hard enough, I think we could rekindle the romance. And if on some days I’m not up for leaving the house, that’s okay, too. At least the A/C is working again.