A paean to approaching Summer (or, um, not)

May 31, 2008 by

It’s easy to love New Orleans in the spring and fall. It’s even doable to love New Orleans in the winter, as damp and bitter as it can be. But man oh man, New Orleans in the summer is one unlovable greasy whorebag. And she’s pressed right up next to us, on an overcrowded RTA bus hurtling to Hades, with of course the obligatory broken air conditioner.

Now I know there are those among you who glory in the rising temperatures, but overall, seems like we treat summer the way the rest of the country treats winter: hole up, hibernate, and hope for the best. We venture out of our air-conditioned caves only as the demands of work, food, and the most basic levels of sociability demand. Car engines run hot; tempers hotter. The ugly truth is that we all tend to treat each other a little shittier in the summer, even if it’s just letting loose with more road rage or expressing impatience with that person who maybe irritates you year-round, but not quite so badly when the weather isn’t so hateful.

While northerners escape to sunny climes in winter, we are desperate to go somewhere cooler in June, July, or most preferably- well, you know. Everyone who can possibly manage it gets out of town in The Month That Must Not Be Named. When luck doesn’t favor us with vacation, we console ourselves by pouring daiquiris and snoballs and snoballs-cum-daiquiris down our gullets.

And the sweating, gah, the sweating. Forget delicacy, it’s all been washed away in a torrent of salty effluvia, running into the crevices of your elbows, knees, thighs, frickin’ eyelids, down the middle of your back, and admit it, right down the crack of your booty and associated regions. Summer is the epitome of that “not so fresh” feeling.

Feeling squirmy and pissed-off yet? Okay, now think about it this way: summer is our communal sweat lodge, our big hallucinatory ordeal that allows us to appreciate the rest of the year. We come out feeling somehow purified, taking big grateful gulps of clearer, cooler air, shedding our stinky, sweaty skins and renewing our activities. Summer can be isolating, and sometimes in this one-degree-of-separation town, that’s not a wholly bad thing. It’s always great to hit that first big show of fall, say hi to people you haven’t seen in months, and just enjoy the fact that we all made it through another one (and I’m not even talking about that aspect of summer that has the wind, the rain and the potential for Horrible Things). The distant dream of Autumn definitely shores me up on those summer days when I’m thinking maybe I’ve been sentenced to an endless tour of the hotter circles of Dante’s Inferno.

So, it’s time to gird our collective loins for the yearly ordeal. I hope y’all stored up those delightful days of spring in your hearts, babies, the bitch is back.


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