August in Austin, Texas. A wonderful time. If you’re an air conditioning repairman or a lizard. Otherwise, not so much. It’s hot. It’s humid. It’s an inhumane 102 degrees day after day after blast furnace day. It’s just miserable. In fact, I’ve already decided that once I come into money, I’m going to buy a summer home someplace cooler. Like Zimbabwe. But until then, I’m stuck down here, sweating my ass off in the Lone Star state. Yee-haw.
When I tell people (“tell” = “bitch to”) how unhappy I am each August and that I can’t believe that people in the South live like this, they usually look at me like I’m some kind of delicate moron, then slowly drawl, “How the heck’d you not know Texas gets hot in the summer?” Yeah, I know. It’s like moving to Chinatown, then one day saying, “Hey, where’d all these Asian people come from?” But in my defense, the one and only trip Chris and I made to Austin before moving here 10 years ago, the trip that made us fall in love with the city and want to raise a family here, was taken in December–the one month a year no cattle die from heat exhaustion. I think I even wore a sweater.
Without question, the first few summers we spent in Austin were a little rough on us. Well, rough on me, anyway. I sometimes think Chris would be happy living in a greenhouse in Havana. But the thing was, for some reason I just couldn’t get my body to adjust to the suffocating air of the southern climate. I mean, how come it felt the same being in the shower as it did being out of the shower? When did my upper lip start sporting a permanent bead of sweat? And why the hell did I suddenly look like a post-game Shaq every time I walked outside? Even when I was wearing a sundress?
But then, after a few years of living in Austin, I finally found a better way to deal with the heat. Better than wretchedly staggering around town, numbly muttering “Oh, Lord help me Jesus, I’m soooo hot” while crying tears that evaporated before they reached my cheeks, anyway. So now, at the first hint of August heat, I take a more enlightened approach to dealing with it all: I hide.
Every year on July 31st, I simply load up on the dry goods and wine, bid farewell to our neighbors, then happily hunker down inside our air conditioned house like a crazed religious leader waiting for his spaceship to arrive. Then, thirty or so days later, when the outside temperature has finally begun to dip into the low 90’s, I slowly crack open the front door and step outside, blinking from the sunlight like a recently released hostage. Yeah, I know this makes me kind of an anti-social loser, but so what? At least I don’t have to buy clinical strength deodorant anymore.
I just saw on the news that today’s going to be another scorchingly hot 100 degree day. But I don’t mind. After all, the only plans I have are to just sit inside my 78 degree house, contentedly drinking iced tea and watching my landscaping slowly turn brown and die through my living room window. True, it’s maybe not the most ideal way to spend my summer vacation, but trust me, I’m only doing what I have to do. Because when T.S. Eliot famously wrote that April was the cruelest month, he’d obviously never been to Austin in August.
See you in September.