Why I Hate Summer and What I Do About It
This is my contribution for all those who hate the summer season, and feel similarly tortured by high temperatures. There usually isn’t a breeze anywhere outside. The humidity is high, there’s poor air quality, and an oppressive sun blazing on my sensitive skin keeps me trapped inside my house against my will for months.
Today in Boston, temperatures are projected to reach over 90° with a heat index of 105 degrees. The mayor has declared a heat emergency. A hospital’s centralized air conditioning unit just failed. Patients have to be transferred to other hospitals. Senior citizens are urged to go to air-conditioned community centers. And here I sit, isolated in my sealed, air-conditioned bedroom during a major heat wave.
Family and friends can’t understand why I hate the summer weather so much. They love it. For one thing, extreme heat is unkind to people with allergies, fair skin, and soft hair. Extreme summer heat kills people all around the world. There is no fun for those gasping for air when it’s a muggy 95 degrees and there is an electrical blackout. Without air conditioning, all one can do is lie on the bed looking toward the ceiling, or sit in a chair and wipe heavy beads of sweat from your face.
Summer brings its own set of irritants. If you have a grass or tree allergy, every time grass is cut, it’s almost a death knoll. A shedding willow tree could kill someone. So could ragweed. There are water sprinklers everywhere, and all it means is more grass and weed growth.
Allergies and hay fever mean months using nasal sprays, tissues, handkerchiefs, and pills. Summer brings blisters, itchy skin, rashes and hives caused by poison ivy and oak for months. And, summer heat is not fun when you’re sun burned. If you stay outside, you have to apply sun block on the hour every hour on your skin.
I recite this mantra to all those who will listen. In winter, you can always put on more clothes. But in summer, you can burn and blister from the heat. You can’t even find a personal winter solstice being naked. Here are some things I never miss once summer is over:
- Sweat and everything that is sweaty
- High humidity, mugginess, and perpetual heat stickiness
- Summer-long wet and frizzy hair
- Sweaty and smelly people who don’t shower after work
- Sitting in my car getting 3rd degree burns from the hot and sticky leather interior
- The insect kingdom that come out in droves - Wasps, bees, ticks, and carpenter bees, brown and black ants. Mosquitoes and black flies
- Loud parties outdoors that go on all night in back yards and on the street
This diatribe may seem cruel, manic and phobic. Hot weather can do that to those who suffer under sustained prickly heat. Still, we who hate hot weather don’t have to be held prisoner for several months a year. We have options and choices at our disposal.
- Hide under an umbrella as you walk down the street
- Refuse to go anywhere that is without air conditioning
- Wear as few clothes as possible
Enjoy a chilly shower of cold water falling on your face and body after a full day at work or in the sun. It’s always something to look forward to after you ride with the heated, malodorous, muggy people who fill buses and trains home from work.
Watch your friends and relatives play volleyball or Frisbee at the beach as you sit in a big umbrella chair in the water sipping on something cold in a thermos. Bring a beach hat, a battery operated hand fan, sunscreen, and sunglasses. And don’t forget the sun block.
- Always keep a damp towel in a plastic bag to cool your face and wipe perspiration
- Fight dehydration with ice cream coolers, iced tea, Dunkin Donuts Coolattas®, or fruit cups and of course, ice water
- Lie in a bathtub filled with cool water, and read a book
- Lounge around wearing a pair of baggy shorts, a big printed gauze shirt, a large straw hat, with your bare feet in sandals.
- Enjoy inside activities with air conditioning like casinos, the movies, bowling, or summertime indoor ice skating rinks
- Stay in the shade as much as possible
- Keep your asthma inhaler close for those who use one
- Carpool with people who hate heat as much as you do, and will agree to keep the air conditioner on high to and from work
Having stated all of the above, I stay firmly against extreme hot and muggy weather, sweat, perpetually wet clothes and hair, and sticky skin. Still, the summer months cannot be avoided. I can’t run from the sun. I can’t hide out from my friends and families for three to four months. So, I will continue to make the best of it. I’ll be the one who is forced out of my frozen cocoon of air conditioning, ice water, and umbrella in hand, to take the pictures of others in the heat. I will defend my right to complain, but I will try not to be a spoilsport. I will be the one with camera in one hand, drinking something cold in the other, memorializing others having fun in the sun.