I like summer a lot and I'm learning to love it more. I used to hate summer because I hate the heat. I really hate, hate heat. I hate the heat so badly that when I was eighteen I prayed to go somewhere cold on my mission and the Lord sent me to Finland where I spent a six month winter above the arctic circle and I loved it! One time it was -35 and we rode our bikes down a hill and I started crying and my tears immediately streamed across my cheek and froze there (and some reindeer chased us.) But in the past few years I have learned to accept heat, and actually look forward to summer! I still think getting into a hot, leathery car is the worst thing ever, but I don't mind a little sun on my neck anymore.
That being said, I always make these big plans for the summer that I never achieve. I always picture myself taking a summer to listlessly lounge at a pool or enjoy exciting hikes to waterfalls! But I never do. Because my time off is fairly sparse and when I do have it I always think it's too freaking hot to go hiking up some waterfall. And I would rather just spray my kids with a hose than pack up the car and find a pool. So these images I have in my head of summertime are actually fraudulent. I never fulfill them. It's nobody's fault! I have to work. Plus, I have so much TV to catch up on!
I never get snowcones. Never. We have the world's greatest snowshack merely two blocks from my home, and I have never been there. My children go there basically every day. My son Hugh eats only bread, air, and snowcones and he cannot understand how I have never been there. And, to add insult to injury, a new snowshack, claiming to be better than the other one, just opened one block away from my house! And I haven't been there, either. The world's two best showshacks within two city blocks? And I haven't been? What's wrong with me? I have old person disease. Anyway, I wouldn't know what to order. Do they still have Tiger's Blood? Tutti Frutti?
I never spend summer evenings sitting out on the front porch and talking with neighbors. I always think I will, but I don't. My first problem is that I don't have a porch. But I have created a nice little seating area on my front lawn under a shady junk tree. We have those funky colored plastic chairs everyone seems to have now, and they are fairly comfortable even if they impress giant lines all down your back and the seat pads are still a little damp from last night's sprinklers. I sit on them from time to time, but my neighbors don't really stop by. So I just watch joggers and kids on scooters or play with instagram on my phone. It never lasts long because I get bored and I want to go inside and eat unhealthy things.
I don't take big exciting road trips, like Route 66 or wherever. I see pictures of people doing this, but these people don't have jobs. Or children. I think it would be so exciting to pack a car up with Lisa and hit the high road for a few days, and I think my kids would actually be fine for a while without us. But then the pretzels would run out and someone would forget to empty the garbage and it would basically become The Road. And then Child Protective Services would take my children away (although that would free up time for me to go on more road trips! It's a vicious cycle.) You can have children and you can have road trips but you can't have both. When I was in college I fancied myself a bit of a Jack Kerouac, taking off without telling anyone, squatting in a tent along the California coast and working with Mexican migrants in the grape fields. But now I squat at Smashburger, the most air-conditioned burger joint in operation, or seek high adventure by taking my kids to a matinee movie at the University Mall. And I have never been happier!
It's safe to say that summer is fraught with high expectations that can never be conceivably met, in the same way that you think you are going to rake leaves in autumn and frolic in them, but you never do because they get wet and smell like dung. My visions of summer, glorious and lazy, wet 'n wild, are hazy anticipations of something that ultimately never happens. And I'm kind of cool with it. Because I love air conditioning, and my kids love cartoons, and my wife is sexy, and I'm healthy, and we're all just having a great old July.