Sunday, August 27, 2006

My least favorite time of the year

Living in central Texas, this has to be my least favorite time of the year. At this point of the summer, we've had more than two months with temperatures greater than 100 degrees. By mid-August the heat becomes oppressive, like one is weighted down with 50 pounds of chains. There is no escape. At 7 a.m. the temperature is already 78 degrees and the humidity engulfs you like a wool blanket. At 7 p.m. temperatures are starting to drop for the day -- it was 101 and now it's only 99 degrees.

In the car, at the store, in the office, in the classroom, you can't escape it. The back of your neck stays clammy from perspiration, while sweat runs down your legs. By late afternoon you notice the somewhat sickening smell of an unwashed body and you realize that it is you; your morning shower, deodorant and personal hygiene has lost the battle of the heat.

Unfortunately, the heat will remain for at least another month. It will be awhile before the temperatures slowly start to dip. It is the burden we have to bare for living in such a beautiful place with such mild winters. We all wonder what the cooler weather will bring. We are experiencing a severe drought right now. Water levels in the area lakes are dropping a foot a week. Business and tourism is suffering. We know it will end – it always does – but with the end of the drought comes a flood. The joy of rain, when it finally comes, will be short-lived as the rain becomes the enemy.

Last night we went to a pool party to celebrate the birthday of a friend. There was not much pool to the party as most people opted to stay in the air conditioning. Someone brings deviled eggs and I step outside to give one to Doug, who has opted to sit underneath the fan on the patio, next to the pool, rather than inside. Ninety seconds in the heat and I am sweating when I walk back into the house. Later, after the sun begins to disappear in the night sky, several of us are outside, dangling our feet over the edge of the pool. The water feels good and we decide to go for a swim. We change into our suits and jump in, realizing that the water is deceptive. It's not cool and refreshing, but warm and engulfing. It's like lukewarm soup, but at least we aren't sweating.

Today is the annual hot sauce festival. We like festivals and Doug likes hotsauce, but most years we pass on this event. It's just too hot to be outside in a crowd of people. We've yet to decide whether we are going or not, but it isn't too likely. Instead we will remain inside, in the air conditioning, praying for the god of autumn to bless us sooner, rather than later.

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