The longer I live, the more our endless Georgia summers oppress me. Don’t get me wrong — living here in the summer is a lot better than not living, although sometimes I suspect it’s kind of like what certain people experience when they’re not living.
My discontent with Southern summers has led me to fantasize about moving out West, to one of those states where July daytime highs are in the 80s and nighttime lows are in the 40s — and where, more to the point, summers last only two or three months, instead of six or seven. Because that’s the real problem: Summers here simply last too long.
I don’t mind three good, hot months. There are things I enjoy doing, like applying suntan lotion to my lovely wife’s lovely back, that can only be done when it’s good and hot. But when we get into the last week of September, and temperatures are still in the 90s — well, that’s when I want to throw in the towel (the very one I’ve been using to wipe the sweat off my face) and head west.
Of course, the catch is, those parts of the country that have cooler summers have cooler winters, too. About 40 degrees cooler. I’ve never lived anyplace where the temperature stays in single digits for days on end, and I’m not sure how I’d handle that kind of mind-numbing cold. But as I write this, on another scorching September day, I think I’d like to try. Plus, there’s the fact that my mind is already moderately numb most of the time. Maybe there really is something to this climate change business, because I don’t remember “fall” temperatures like these when I was a kid.
Of course, I grew up around Chattanooga, which is a little farther north, but not enough to make a real difference in average temperature. Average traffic, maybe, but not average temperature. I just remember September as a transitional month, when the days gradually got cooler, the breeze picked up, and the leaves started to change. Now September is simply, well, summer. Perhaps the climate itself hasn’t changed, in terms of steadily rising temperatures and impending disaster, but rather the seasons have shifted. I mean, didn’t football used to be a cold-weather sport? I can certainly remember bundling up for high school football games in October, taking blankets and hot cocoa, snuggling with my honey.
Now the snuggling is strictly superfluous — though no less enjoyable — and I rarely even need a light jacket. Meanwhile, baseball used to be a warm-weather sport. Now little league practice starts in March, which in Georgia is often the coldest month of the year. The most frozen I’ve ever felt was on a baseball diamond after dark on a blustery March evening. Then again, right now, it’s 92 degrees. I’d gladly take a little bluster.
Rob Jenkins is a free-lance writer who lives in Lawrenceville. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.