Just so we’re clear, in the South, the spring lies. Everything is so amazingly beautiful beginning in March. The city of Chattanooga blooms in a cornucopia of flowers. Even the embankments on the Interstates flower with pear trees, daffodils, red poppies, etc. It is breathtaking and you can’t help but think, “This is paradisiacal!” The air is crisp, the clouds are fluffy, and the ground buds with life. But (and this is a big but), then calendar segues into summer. The temperature rises, the flowers shrivel, and the humidity crushes. And you know that it was all a lie. This is not paradise—paradise could never be this hot! In fact, it reminds me of, well, the nether regions.
Today was the first nasty day of the summer. I have friends who said stuff like “Oh, today’s going to be so hot.” I said the same thing, but I said it with a scowl. They said it with giddy anticipation. Clearly, early dementia has set in. Why would someone get excited about temperatures that make the ground shrink and crack? And levels of humidity so high that Harper Lee refers to Southern women together with their face powder as frosted cupcakes? Or, atmospheric pressure levels so high that they have to call an “Orange Alert” to keep people from using their lawnmowers and polluting the atmosphere? Why does that make Southerners giddy? After all, if that’s so amazing and wonderful, why does everyone have an air conditioner?
I will admit that I’m not an unbiased observer. I’ve been heard to say, “I’d rather go through a New England winter twice than go through a New England summer once.” And, of course, a Southern summer is a New England summer on steroids—the nasty, illegal, get-you-suspended-from-major-league-baseball steroids.
But then, it occurred to me that it’s a matter of attitude. Maybe if I embrace the heat, it’s a way of conquering the roasting temps. Yeah, that might work. From now on, I will say, “Oh, how wonderful—it’s going to be 105 in the shade with 99.9% humidity. It’s just like a Finnish sauna, only it’s free!” Of course, I’ll be saying that from the comfort of my air conditioned home. If you question me on that discrepancy, I’ll say, “It’s for the children.”