I was born in upstate NY and was raised in PA. Here in the northeast part of the country we have four seasons every year. Autumn and spring are muddy, rainy sad seasons. In Spring you can distract yourself with new blossoming growing things, and in Autumn you have the changing colors of the leaves (which you can see because we’re surrounded by hills full of trees and the whole landscape changes into a kaleidoscope of happy colors). Winter sucks. There’s no way around that. We have 3.5 minutes where we look around at the houses and fields covered in a blanket of snow and think “Oh! That looks like a postcard!” and then we’re all “DAMN SNOW” wondering why we live here while we’re moving 3 feet of snow off what’s left of our salt-rusted cars or standing in snowbanks waiting for a bus. We shiver, we shudder, we shovel, we salt, we shovel, we salt, we shovel…repeat 654 times and ta-da! Spring!
Summer up here is different than other places too I’ve learned. “Hot” here is 90 degrees, humid, but where I am we have public swimming pools and it’s an hour’s drive to the water park or lake. Summer means you can breathe outside, you have flavored ice pops, and summer nights mean you get to go to bed with your window open and fall asleep watching the curtains billow in and out of your bedroom as they dance on a midnight breeze.
A couple years ago I moved to Alabama. I almost died. Pretty much my only thought when I moved was “YAY! No more winter!!” with tinges of “I’ll get to see the SUN! I miss the sun!” I was eager, hopeful and excited.
Then I woke up in Alabama.
We were in a motel. In air-conditioning. While I was inside I had to find the balance where blowing cold air meant “refreshing” and not “turn the heater on”. Outside? Outside…well. OUTSIDE was a whole nother ball game.
Summer in Alabama means your car door handles are too hot to touch to get into your car, which you want to do to escape the oppressive rays of sun bearing down on you. Summer in Alabama means once you get into your car you want to get back out. The car seats burn your skin. The trapped air in the car dehydrates your lungs. Once you gather your nerve to start the car and go (hoping the speed of your car will blow air on you and cool you off) you burn your hand on the metal of the seat belts, and gritting your teeth and swearing slightly, you turn your key and fuse your hands to the steering wheel.
Summer in Alabama means that even if you’re driving with the car windows down there is no cool air. It means your tires heat up to the point that they can either fuse to the asphalt and blow or the glue melts and your treads just come off while you’re driving. Summer in Alabama means sweat in your eyes as soon as you walk out your front door. It means never looking comfortable. It means always being sweaty and wrinkled and your shirt will always be sticking to your fat rolls. Summer in Alabama means never making a good first impression.
Mostly, summer in Alabama means I wonder to myself “What was wrong with Winter?”