It is officially September, yet here in Texas we are still enjoying our mild and balmy 100-degree days. A Texas summer is like the boyfriend that you wake up to one day and can no longer stand. It’s not you, it’s me. I’m just tired. I don’t want to do this anymore. You really need to go, for your own protection.
I’m tired of wandering longingly past blooming plants in the nursery that beg me to take them home, that swear they are “Summer Heat Survivors.” Liars. I know from past experience that no matter how much I water them, anything I buy this month will commit suicide within days of my bringing it home.
Tired of my closet and its adorable, short little sundresses and skinny halter tops that sneer at me and roll their eyes when I pull them out to consider, poking each other and cackling, “Really? Can you believe she’s even thinking about us? No one wants to see it, girl. Let’s wear something a little more appropriate for your age,, shall we?”
Late summer in Texas brings relentless heat and baseball, pool parties, big bugs that appear in the bathtub overnight, watered-down lemonade, hot dogs that have been rotating on the stand at Quick Trip for three days, whooping it up at the lake in pee-filled lakes with questionable bacteria levels, burning yourself on the seat of your car, 95- degree temps even when you wait until midnight to walk the dog,, giant snakes that pop up in people’s garages, and most of all, FUN. Summer fun.
I hate fun.
I can’t WAIT to say goodbye to fire ants, sundresses, mosquito bites, sweating, self-tanners that turn my white veiny legs into orange veiny legs, sticking to the car seat, third-degree burns on my feet from walking barefoot to get the mail, moths that mysteriously appear in my kitchen pantry from the birdseed I forgot to seal completely, 3-a-day high school marching band practices that require six trips to the high school every day, and trying not to pass out from sucking my stomach in at the pool.
I’m an autumn girl, myself. Bring on the moody clouds, the chill in the air, the nip in the wind, the harvest tablecloths. I like pumpkins, not sunflowers. I like hearty beef stew and spicy chili and creamy tomato basil soup, not messy watermelon or drippy corn or Crystal Light that makes me burp. I like cloudy, moody days with threatening, low-hanging clouds that whisper, “Don’t even think about going out today. Be safe. Just go back to the bedroom and take a nap.”
I like boots, which just don’t work in August with my favorite yoga pants and t-shirt. Black pants, a turtleneck and a great pair of boots can take a girl anywhere in style—and generously hide a few extra pounds hanging out in the wrong places. And unlike high-maintenance summertime dressing, you’ll never have to worry about buying a strapless bra or whether your upper arms jiggle more than the pudding you packed in your kid’s backpack this morning for band camp.
I grew up in the suburban tundra of Chicago, where any temperature over 32 degrees warrants washing the car, breaking out the motorcyle, and driving around with the top down in the convertible. There’s nothing better than hearing the wind howling outside while you hunker down at home, fire flickering, something hot simmering on the stove, a good book waiting by the bedside table.
Somehow when I read “Sunbelt climate” in the Texas Chamber of Commerce brochure, I missed the part that mentioned that this glorious desert actually includes months of 100-degree days that can last well into September.
I saw a headline in the New York Times the other day that read “Seasonal Depression Can Accompany Summer Sun.” In it, one sufferer explained, “I actually feel kind of attacked by the sun and I start to feel more and more desperate to escape it. I have a hard time organizing daily life. By August, I’m barely able to function, and I don’t really recover until autumn.”
Eureka! I’d found my summer-hating sister soul mate. Seems she was diagnosed with Summer SAD, also known as Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is the mood-altering disease that causes depression in the winter when there’s little sun and bitter cold.
So I finally have an official diagnosis: I am a victim of reverse SAD. All the more reason to look forward to the official end of summer: when the Halloween candy starts appearing. Then I can throw a sweater on, light the candles, get my snuggly blanket out, and really enjoy the weather.
Until then, you’ll find me at home, watering to try to keep the things I love alive, rooting around for the last container of Ben and Jerry’s chocolate-chocolate chip, and impatiently waiting for the next episode of Breaking Bad.