Monday, June 25, 2007

The grass should not technically be greener when the New Jersey summer sun has fried it to a crisp

"How are you enjoying summer here," another mother asked me recently as we waited for our kids to be let out of class at the end of the day. I wasn't quite sure how to respond. We were both wearing light jackets over our long sleeved tops, and I'd actually just been wishing that I'd thrown fashion to the wind and opted for a warmer sock/shoe combination instead of my open ballet flats. Was she being facetious or is this truly what passes for summer around here? I was a little too afraid to ask.

My calendar tells me that it's officially summer now, and my friends in the U.S. confirm it. Their kids are out of school and hanging out at the pool these days, while mine still have another 3 weeks to go in the classroom. It's not just our schedule which feels decidedly unsummer-esque. It's also 57 degrees here today (I must confess that I still use Fahrenheit-based sites to get my weather reports, as Celsius remains one big fat mystery to me). This is admittedly a particularly cold spell for late June, even for London. But in a country where the highs rarely peak much beyond the mid 70s, I'm suddenly realizing that this July and August are unlikely to resemble any summer I've ever known. Hot, sticky afternoons at the pool and warm, relaxing evenings in the backyard are not going to be my reality this year (and not just because I have neither a pool nor a backyard). I don't have air conditioning because I'm not likely to need air conditioning, and it's just as well that women don't wear shorts in this country. Unless we get a reprise of last summer's big heat wave, I'm going to have quite a few months of something which may feel like summer to people who are used to it, but to me sounds like little more than an extended spring.

Hot weather does not bring out the best in me, and I have always had a tendency to bitch mightily when the temperatures climb past 85 or so. I hate the way shorts look on me and I'm much happier with an open window than a hermetically sealed air conditioned room. I've hosted far too many barbecues where the guests clustered inside because it was too damn hot in the yard, and I could certainly do without the whole sweaty, chlorinated mass of humanity that is my hometown pool on a hot summer's day. Summer in New Jersey, I truly believe, is overrated at best.

So why, then, am I so unbelievably sad to be missing it?


Blogger Kristy said...

You know, as much as I bitch about how daggone hot it is here, I simply could not do away with my summers. Yes, my HOT summers. Your post makes me positively sad, and I'm not even there. Hugs. Hot, sweaty hugs ;-)

12:28 AM  
Blogger Iota said...

Oh dear, don't despair. You will get a bit of sunshine and hot weather in London, but make the most of it when it comes, as it could be gone by the next day. If you really need a fix of hot weather, book a holiday somewhere lovely in the south of France or Italy or Spain. That's something you couldn't do so easily from New Jersey. If you're desperate for a neighborhood pool, try a lido (I think there's one near you somewhere). It's not the same thing at all, but if you're really hankering...

1:30 AM  
Blogger Lindyloo said...

my first summer in Manchester I huddled under a blanket it was so cold. Whenever I would go outside I'd see these crazy women dressed in almost nothing 'enjoying the summer weather' FREAKS!! Well 2 summers later and although I do know how to dress appropriatly for the weather I've acclimated enough to enjoy what passed for summer here. I'm in MA at the moment enjoying what seems like freakishly warm weather. There's nothing like the smell of sweat and chlorine! I hope the rain stops soon and the sun comes out to play!

5:58 PM  
Blogger Gretchen said...

I don't know; despite the humidity and occasionally astonishing heat, I could always love summer when surrounded by green, green, green, and summer thunderstorms to cool things off. Actually, it's not getting above 71 or so now here -- our summer doesn't really start until Labor Day, and lasts until almost Halloween.

12:54 AM  
Blogger Steph said...

Sorry that you're missing summer at home. I would miss our hot summers too. Hugs to you.

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just reading your posts and had to comment. Live in Raleigh and we just had a week of 90 degree days in October. I enjoy summer and it can be overwhelming in July and August but couldn't live without it. Love the blog!

5:34 AM  

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