The Trials of Summer
Floyd the Barber: Oh, it’s hot
Sherriff Taylor: Everyone talks about the weather but no one ever does anything about it,
Floyd the Barber: Calvin Coolidge said that
Sherriff Taylor: No he didn’t, Mark Twain said that.
Floyd the Barber: Mark Twain ? What did Calvin Coolidge say ?
Sherriff Taylor: Nothing….
I have made some allusions to the heat of the Austin summer, but I have tried not to write about it, for the simple reason, as Twain implied, that I can’t do anything about it. But there comes a time when an event is so monstrous that it has to be spoken of, if only for the writer to maintain some type of credibility. For those of you reading this 100 years hence, the summer of 2009 in Austin was hot ! How hot ? Real hot ? How hot is that ? Above average.
We are on pace to have at least 70 days or more be above 100 degrees for the year. We will look back on this year with at least 20% of all days of 2009 being over 100.Certain people (my wife included) are getting some type of gallows joke out of each day over 100 and each day breaking the old record high temperature for the day. She figures that as long as it’s 99, it may as well be 100 and as long as it’s 105, it may as well be 106 if that means that we can break another record. The only good thing about the heat is that air conditioning bills are so high that the amount of money being made by the city owned utility is cutting into our city budget deficit.
But I must say that enough is enough. If I had wanted to live in Phoenix, I’d have moved to Phoenix. It never crossed my mind when I came here in the bicentennial summer of ’76 that I’d ever have to face this kind of heat. It is being blamed on some “high pressure” system which has somehow misplaced itself this summer and hovered over Austin instead of the Mojave desert or the Sahara or somewhere where the people who buy homes know what they are in for. There is a temptation to blame this all on global warming ,but many places in the country are having one of their coolest, wettest summers. So I guess that we should place the blame where it probably will fall, on the fact that this is the end of days and Satan has taken over Central Texas in preparation for Armageddon. I suppose that I always knew that it would end up like this, the final battle on the banks of the Colorado with the forces of evil overwhelming Sandy’s Frozen Custard stand over there on Barton Springs Road. Austin is as good a place as any to herald the “old earth” fading away.
But what if I am wrong ? What if this is not the rapture, but just the first summer of a lifetime of desert dwelling for all of us here in what used to be called River City ? I will say that this is the first time since college when I have thought about moving out of Texas. I could buy a bank repo house out in California , get a job at a Barnes and Noble and never really sweat again. My lifestyle would change, but so what ? I am too old to do anything exciting anyway, why not be comfortable as I enter what my senior partner calls ” my dotage” ? Think of it, 72 degrees everyday for the rest of your life. You can’t put a price on something like that. Brisk walks along the beach instead of dodging old ladies and teenagers in my mall walks. Lunches of cheap fish tacos and maybe some Pollo Loco every week or so. Crisp California whites being sipped and slices of Monterrey Jack being munched on in a quiet little living room with the patio door open, letting in that sea breeze which so entranced Balboa. All of this can be yours !
“Adieu, adieu, the plaintive anthem fades”. There is really only one way through this hellish experience. In the words of John Belushi, “I suggest that you start drinking heavily”.