Ah, summer, glorious summer. It’s all frolic and fun — and, of course, romance. Maybe at your house. Here’s how it looks at ours.
My guy arrives home dripping with perspiration. I greet him with a feeble wave — all I can muster. We both sigh. The air is heavy. Damp. Suffocating.
“I have it on high-fan,” is the only comment I make, and we both know that the “it” in question is the air conditioner. It is, alas, our total focus, our sacred shrine. Its constant hum is the soundtrack of our version of summer love.
Yet the house still feels like a swamp. It’s as if we’ve been living on the set of that Humphrey Bogart classic The African Queen, but without the glorious sense of adventure.
So yes, things have been sizzling. And as you’ve no doubt picked up, I don’t mean in the romantic sense. I hate hot weather. Always have. Always will.
Heat makes me cranky, then downright nasty. So I talk about it a lot.
“Have you ever seen such humidity?” I’ll ask total strangers in parking lots as I move with measured, mincing steps. Anything more energetic is too taxing.
I instantly bond with those who respond with the same intensity I feel. I torture myself by listening to the meteorologists who gleefully report not just the temperature, but exactly how hot it feels on our skin. You can even check it hour by hour on websites.
During the most dreadful days of clammy heat, I find myself avoiding the outdoors entirely, and scampering from one air-conditioned place to the next. Well, maybe not exactly scampering. More like carefully placing one foot in front of the other to avoid any needless exertion.
Cooking? Not on your life.
In recent weeks, we have survived on meals like tuna on stale bagels, cottage cheese sandwiches and, on one memorable night, peaches and cookies.
When it’s been too hot to read, too hot to talk and definitely too hot to exercise, our battles have been waged around the living room thermostat. Our hands meet as I sidle over to it at the crack of dawn on these blistering days, and plunge the dial down to the lowest temperature it will register. My reasonable husband gently slides it up a notch or two.
And the wars begin.
It does disturb me that two presumably enlightened people, living in a troubled world, would devote quite so much time and energy to precisely how low is too low to set the thermostat.
Of course, I automatically resent people who had the wisdom — and incredible luck — to be far away. I refuse to listen to their tales of needing sweaters at night on Cape Cod, or shivering in Oregon.
And the next person who tells me that down at the shore, it was so breezy that the kids couldn’t brave the ocean —well, never mind what I’d like to say.
There are, of course, solutions to all this. One is just to shut up and ignore it. Not my style. Another is to do all those things the experts suggest: stay indoors, drink lots of water, avoid exertion, eat lightly. But being sensible is boring.
And there’s my way: constant lamenting, complaining, whining, checking precisely how high the temperature will soar and then talking endlessly about it.
But I keep reminding myself that in the not-too-distant future, the hot flash of summer will be over. And then a different, time-honored litany can be heard at our house. It goes something like this:
“Boy, it’s cold! It’s freezing! Don’t touch that thermostat. Of course I want it set that high…”
And the grand finale?
“Can’t wait for summer.”