20,000 leagues under the sun.
We are deep in the dog days now, with temperatures routinely in the triple digits. It's hard to explain to northerners what southern summers are like, and hard for this northern transplant to remember the season as I knew it growing up. My mother calls in July and asks if the boys are playing any sports, and I wonder for a minute if she has taken up drinking in the afternoons, until I adjust for the latitude and realize that my niece and nephew's soccer season has only just begun.
From a psychological standpoint, southern summers are a lot like northern winters, actually. You stay indoors, you hunker down, you endure. The air conditioning service department tells me if our thermostat reads below 78 F, we should shut up and consider ourselves lucky. The kids refuse to go to the pool during the day ("the water is too warm, Mom"), so we swim at night. They watch way too much tv and play way too many video games. I snap at them for being too loud, too rambunctious, too wild. Our mostly outdoor dog has been moved mostly indoors, for safety's sake, for which she repays us daily by peeing and pooping on the floor. We are all stir crazy. I wonder if drinking in the afternoons would be such a bad thing.
Desperation begets resourcefulness. The boys and I spend two days working on a thousand-piece puzzle, excavated from the back of a closet. A friend comes over and lets Patrick and I escape for a couple of hours, sharing a pint of ice cream on the playground swings after dark. Cardboard boxes are repurposed as turtle shells and time machines. My eleven-year-old takes lego-building to a post graduate level, assembling Rube Goldberg-like contraptions with moving parts -- gears, and levers, and rubber bands for drum belts. When our little civilization breaks down again, as it inevitably does, we retreat back to the tv, computers and video game players --virtual excursions that don't require entering a vehicle in which the dashboard thermostat reads 111. It's like living on a submarine. If only we had a pipe organ.
Labels: the south