Saturday, April 16, 2005

Summer in Arkansas

It’s spring here in Arkansas. Have I mentioned how much I hate that?

I might like it better if we lived in a better place, or if I were the sort of person who liked the outside; but we live in a cave of a house behind these ratty apartments, next door to some thuggish pre-adolescents who really need the Supernanny Jo Frost to come stay with them for a month or two.

The apartments have malfunctioning cooling and heating systems that squeal and howl and keep up an alarming racket ten months of the year; the brats, who have their own swimming pool, giant wooden fort, trampoline, swing set, and so on, squeal and howl and so on all twelve months of the year, not to mention, I suspect, torment Big Dog from time to time, though I haven’t actually caught them at it yet.

Anyway, not only do I not have the sort of surroundings in which one can enjoy spring, this is Arkansas, and when spring comes, can summer be far behind?

Summer in Arkansas: baking hell. And the main reason I look longingly at job ads in Wyoming, Alaska, Maine, the Dakotas, anywhere north.

Right now everything outside my window is very green and blue, with fresh white flowers on the dogwood and pretty red flowers on the redbud, bright fresh air everywhere. Looks like paradise. But all I can think about – the six months of furious heat about to descend.

And how we have to live through it yet again. Negotiating for patches of shade in the parking lots, remembering to leave car windows cracked so the windshield won’t shatter, waiting until dusk to go grocery shopping or to take the kid to the park or for her walk, packing away everything except the thinnest shirts and all shoes except sandals, putting aluminum foil up on the windows that aren’t protected by the trees, sun hats everywhere and sunglasses all the time, never cooking hot meals because the air conditioner can't take the strain, not with the heat outside hitting 98 or 99 every day and the humidity thick as steam…waiting for October. Seems like we just got done with summer.

Which, of course, we did.

I hate the south. How do I keep ending up here?

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