A man for no seasons

by Mark Sherman
July 21, 2011 01:36 PM | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I hate the summer, and I hate saying that because so many people like the summer, or at least they say they do. So there I am, faking it. I‘m trying to pass as a summer-lover. Someone will say, when it’s 85 degrees, “What a beautiful day!” and I’ll say, “Sure is,” because I know they don’t want to hear me complaining and ruining their beautiful day.

But I can’t keep up the sham anymore. I have to come out of the closet and let you know who I really am. I do not like the summer. From the first day when I have to put on a fan or the A/C and start worrying when and where the next severe thunderstorm will occur, and then have to turn off or unplug my computer in anticipation of it, and fill the bathtub in case the power goes out, and worry that maybe this time the severe thunderstorm will turn into a tornado, and I’ll be terrified, if not killed, and if I do live, I will see my house destroyed and all my personal journals scattered all over New Paltz, from that first day, I think, Why didn’t we move to San Francisco back when we could have afforded more than a small garage to live in there?!

You see, it’s not summer in the abstract that I hate; it’s summer in the northeast, where, with climate change, it’s more and more like the now nearly tropical mid-Atlantic used to be. In places like San Francisco I’d be okay.

Of course, there is always a chance that a huge earthquake will occur there, but, hey, no place is perfect.

I like to walk. I don’t take long walks like my wife does, because I do other aerobic exercises, but I do like to take quick one-mile walks. However, I sweat a lot, and so I know that in the summer I will have to come home and change my clothes after a one-mile walk, for God’s sake. Or I can stay in my clothes and let them dry, which, of course, takes forever when it’s so humid all the time.

I do love the first cool night in August. The crickets are chirping and the temperature is getting down toward 50. You don’t need the A/C to sleep. You can open the windows and enjoy the night air. You know fall is coming. And I love the fall, except for all those leaves you have to deal with. Sure, there’s the five minutes of peak foliage, which attracts hundreds of thousands of weekend visitors from the city for weeks before and after, who act like they’ve never seen a tree before and who clog up our roads so that it takes people west of the Wallkill an hour to drive into town; but a weekday in early fall isn’t so bad.

Then, of course, the leaves start falling, and, true to the season’s name, they fall, and fall, and fall, like forever. And someone -- also known as you -- has to rake them.

But when people complain about the weather in the northeast, they’re usually talking not about summer or fall, but rather the winter, with the cold, snow, and ice. I don’t mind the cold, since you can always add a layer, but I will admit I don’t like the snow and ice. They’re dangerous. Plus things are constantly getting canceled, you sometimes get housebound, you can get ice dams, or your roof can cave in.

Come to think of it, I don’t like the northeast winter either.

Spring is all right, I guess, though it’s a portent of summer. And the lawn starts growing out of control.

Okay, I suppose April 3rd is fine. Well, it is unless those annoying “April showers” have started. Not too warm yet, and the lawn doesn’t have to be mowed. And there probably won’t be any of those terrifying severe thunderstorms. But you know they’re coming. Soon it will be summer and I’ll have to fake it again for three months.

Mark Twain allegedly said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Obviously, the author of this quote, Mark Twain or whomever, was kidding about this coldest winter stuff; average highs in San Francisco in the summer are in the upper 60s, with lows in the mid-50s. But I’ll tell you, today, as I write this, with the temperature here going up to the low 90s, San Francisco’s unseasonably cool 59 sounds pretty good to me!
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