Dog Days of October?
I just missed another phone call. Why? I could not hear my phone ringing over the thunderous roar of my air-conditioner. Here it is just days away from November and my air conditioner is running wide open as it is nearly ninety degrees outside. Even at night, when the temperature drops, the humidity is still near 100%; this preposterous percentage of humidity makes lower temperatures akin to being in a sauna. As November approaches, one would think I could sit on my porch at night with my coffee and my cigarette in relative comfort. This is not the case. My overworked air conditioner, my inflated power bill, my non-existent comfort level, and my green yard all indicate it may as well be August.
Air conditioners, as most people know them, blow cool air. My air conditioner operates at such a high level that it no longer blows; it sucks. It sucks the money right out of my checking account every month. During the summer months my power bill is usually more than twice what it is in cooler months. If global warming is caused by excessive CO² in the atmosphere, then the carbon footprint caused by my air conditioner running non-stop could be the sole reason for global warming. I guess it is just a vicious cycle. I suppose Al Gore will fly over in one of his jets and rent an SUV when he arrives at the airport, so he can come to my house and scold me.
This time last year I was in Iraq, where I know it is supposed to be hot; it is the desert. I can remember many evenings this time last year that I could sit outside the barracks and smoke in absolute comfort. Of course, in Iraq one will not experience near 100% humidity. Here in South Mississippi, even when it may be only 73 degrees at night, you can go outside to smoke a cigarette, and the endeavor can become an exercise in futility. Once enough sweat rolls down your nose and drops on the cigarette filter, well, anyone who smokes can attest to the uselessness of trying to smoke a wet cigarette. Coupled with the threat of rain, not actual rain, just the threat of rain for a period of four weeks straight, one may as well attempt breathing underwater.
Usually when one thinks of October, visions of fall with cool air, football, flannel shirts, and leaves with vibrant, exotic colors come to mind. I have yet to experience these things, with the exception of football. I lean back in my recliner and watch football in the comfort of shorts and flip-flops. Instead of chili and fifteen bean soup or pumpkin pie and hot spiced apple cider, the ice cream truck still makes its daily run up and down my street. I do not have brightly colored fall leaves; I only have brown, dead leaves cluttering my yard. The leaves still in the trees are as green as Ireland, as well as the yard. I had hoped I had mowed my lawn for the last time three weeks ago, but with the rain we had three days ago, the grass and leaves are as green as they were in the middle of summer. The brown leaves were from lack of rain. Instead of turning red and yellow before hitting the ground, they just turned brown and fell to the ground dead. I may get to mow for the last time in November this year.
This lack of fall is beginning to be a financial burden with an inflated power bill and having to buy extra gas for the lawn mower. I may have to move from South Mississippi to ever experience a real fall again. That could prove to be an even bigger financial strain though. Since my air conditioner is already running wide open, I guess I could crank it on down to about 50 degrees, put on a flannel shirt, and curl up with a blanket to watch my next football game. Oh yeah, don’t bother to call; I won’t hear the phone ringing.