Our family vacation to the Outer Banks was in June and the weather was nearly perfect. The beach was sunny and warm with a light breeze during the day, the ocean cool and refreshing. In the evenings we wore comfy sweatshirts while we enjoyed a cocktail on the deck as the sun set. The only problem was that when we returned to the Atlanta heat, it was still June. This put me right on pace to be a cranky old man by mid-July.
I’ve lived in Atlanta my entire adult life and still haven’t figured out how to navigate these swampy summers beyond running up a preposterous electric bill. I’m a glutton for punishment so I check my weather app and look past the temperature to the “Real Feel” statistic which lately has been a 3-digit monster of a number. What it ‘Really Feels’ like is I might need a shower after walking the dogs.
Typically, the 4th of July offers a long weekend to look forward to at least. When I was a kid, Independence Day was uncomplicated. Go to the parade, wave a flag, eat a hotdog. I was oblivious to exactly what I was celebrating but hey—fireworks, watermelon, whatever!
Unfortunately, my kids aren’t quite as oblivious. After a slate of enormously consequential SCOTUS decisions, my 12-year-old, vegetarian daughter was no more likely to wear red, white and blue than she was to eat a hot dog. I’m proud of how informed and passionate they are but seriously, if actively not celebrating this current version of America, then what were we going to do all weekend? What were we going to do all month? Did I invest in a YETI cooler for nothing?
I feel like I need to remind people that July is so long, hot and brutal that we Atlantans just pretend August isn’t even a summer month anymore. You know other parts of the country think this is weird, right? Don’t get me wrong – I’m on board with the collective suspension of reality that sends everyone back to school and work as if Aug. 1 marks the beginning of Fall. Nobody can stand the thought of another month where we pretend it is pleasant to do anything outside so it’s sort of like, move along, nothing to see here! August is basically a citywide celebration of the great indoors.
A post on my neighborhood Facebook page asked people to share something they’ve experienced that they think no one else in the group had done. I appreciated it because I feel like the original poster must be having a summer like mine and needed a fun thread to give them a boost. One guy shared a bag of popcorn with Mr. Rogers and someone else won “Hollywood Squares.” One woman made out with Dennis Rodman in Vegas and another had toilet paper passed to her under a stall by Maya Angelou. I refrained from posting about gathering my neighbor’s mail and packages because they were out of town yet again. Seemed less interesting.
Speaking of social media, is everyone else in Europe or on Cape Cod for this entire month? I’m obviously doing something wrong. Kristen works from home so I imagine she could just as easily work from a more pleasant climate, but she’d have to ditch me first. I’m one of those work-from-work fossils that our grandkids will learn about on the History Channel. Plus, going somewhere nice and cool and coastal for a month sounds sort of expensive, no?
I’ll just assume that is the case. Maybe someone on Martha’s Vineyard would want to trade houses with us so for the month of July so they can experience what hot pea soup feels like in atmospheric form. DM me if you know anyone like that. And don’t get me wrong, Atlanta, I love ya. Let’s just go ahead and get to the actual Fall when the rest of the country envies us.