Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Longest Summer

I grew up in the Midwest US. I know a few things about summer. I know about humidity and heat indexes and walking outside into a wall of heat and then walking right back inside. Because in the Midwest US, we had air conditioning. I could walk back inside my house to cool comfort. I could escape. And that, it turns out, makes all the difference.

Here the summers are usually mild. We'll have a few days that top out at 90F, enough to moan about but they are over quickly enough that we've got plenty of time to prepare for moaning about the winter rains and cold. I like this sort of summer. It's manageable. Like most people who live here, we don't have air conditioning, and those days require lots of fans and patience. But the evenings are cool, and the house cools overnight, and all is well.

Not so this summer. This summer showed up and parked itself between 85 and 96 degrees for weeks. Between May 29 and July 27, we got no rain. The earth baked into some sort of unpleasant, straw-scented pie. The park around the corner, which has exactly one small tree for shade, became unbearable. On my days out alone, I'd stand in the Marks & Spencer food hall in the middle of all the food chillers. It was the only time I felt comfortable. At home, there was no relief.

Today was the last day of this round of heat. A friend said to me that it's nice to have a break for a bit, but she would welcome another week or so of higher temperatures. This is because she has a pool, and she wants to use it. The only pool I've got is the pool of sweat I lie in at night when I can't sleep, despite two oscillating fans blowing on me. I don't want another week of high temperatures. I want autumn.

I want it now.

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