Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Summer: The Worst Season


I haven’t liked summer for ages. Sorry, folks. I’m the guy who is stomping on everyone’s good time. I mean, let’s face it, ever since about high school I’ve hated it. Summer has always been hot and uncomfortable with the guarantee that there’s always a limit to how much of your clothes you can take off and be socially accepted. Not that I’ve tried. That anyone can prove. I’ve experienced dry heat and high humidity and just about all between and I can safely say it’s all bad. All of it.

I hated walking in Minnesota summers that felt like you were swimming in the air, hot and muggy and uncomfortable. I don’t like the high desert summers where the air sucks out every single ounce of moisture in you and brings the temperature in your car up to three digits. It makes people crazy, too. Just ask my totally existing detective friend who notes that all the crazy and stupid crimes go up in the summer. He’s an autumn/winter guy too.

I guess I did like summer when I was in school. In elementary school summer meant no schedules. We could ride our bikes to the city park pool – our parents bought us season passes which I am sure was both for us and for them. Sometimes we’d go to a park and play at war, running around without black plastic toy uzis and trying to off each other in a show of stealth and bravado. Other times we’d head to the arcades which were the new great thing, get five – five! whole tokens for a dollar instead of the usual four quarters to the dollar. We’d play Pac-Man, Centipede, and such. Sometimes in our small town, we went to the used book store where they had a rack of used comics. We’d trade in our old ones and get another in turn – three for one. Those were idyllic days.

Some time in high school that ended. In our family, we were required to find work. First, that was stressful enough for a shy, introvert boy who struggled to put himself forward. Once a job was found, I had to sacrifice halcyon days of summer for work. When the job involves counting the smelly beer bottles of my fellow Oregon citizens – well, the bloom is off that rose. Summer hasn’t been the same. It never will.

I’ve moved from that small town that’s changed and will never be the same. I don’t see those friends as much any longer. My siblings are in different states, and the days when kids could ride anywhere they wanted in town on a bike without a helmet and explore and do as they liked are long gone. And at times that loss can be acutely felt. I don’t like summer.

There are 13 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Summers in Minnesota only last two weeks or so.

    • #1
    • February 16, 2018, at 2:36 PM PST
  2. Arahant Member

    There’s a contrarian in every crowd. Although your idyllic childhood summers sound enticing.

    This conversation is part of our Group Writing Series under February’s theme of “We Need a Little Summer.” (In the case of C. U. Douglas, that’s very little.) In March, our theme will be Feats of Strength. If you have ever done, seen, smelled, or imagined a feat of strength, physical, mental, or otherwise, why not go to our schedule and sign-up sheet and pick a day to tell us about it?

    • #2
    • February 16, 2018, at 2:42 PM PST
  3. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Percival (View Comment):
    Summers in Minnesota only last two weeks or so.

    It’s not usually that bad, but I do remember people wearing winter coats to go for a pontoon ride on July 4th one year. That was the summer without a summer.

    • #3
    • February 16, 2018, at 3:49 PM PST
  4. Arahant Member

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):
    Summers in Minnesota only last two weeks or so.

    It’s not usually that bad, but I do remember people wearing winter coats to go for a pontoon ride on July 4th one year. That was the summer without a summer.

    Had no idea you were that old:

    • #4
    • February 16, 2018, at 4:00 PM PST
  5. JoelB Member

    Regarding Minnesota summers, I recall a time when as a teenager I went to St Paul to visit my older sister and her husband. One day my brother-in-law had to go to Duluth to conduct business. My sister and I rode along, planning to take a boat tour of the harbor. St. Paul was a sunny 72 degrees when we left. When we got to Duluth, the temperature had dropped into the 40s and there was rain with wind. The tour had coats available for such days as this and we wore them, but still froze. When we returned to St. Paul that evening, it was sunny there and still in the 70s. When we turned on the evening news, the weather report said that for that day Duluth was the coldest place in the United States ( I suppose that did not include Alaska).

    • #5
    • February 16, 2018, at 4:04 PM PST
  6. Annefy Member

    I grew up at the beach where it was foggy until July. It stayed clear and hot through September (making those “fall” back to school clothes a joke)

    For the last 30 years I’ve lived 40 miles inland in the San Gabriel Valley. It is relatively warm and sunny all months, with occasional bouts of brutal cold in the winter (freezing) for which we are ill prepared with a 100-year old furnace and windows installed the same year. But there’s blankets and sweatshirts and we manage. In 2016 we panicked and bought outdoor heaters for Thanksgiving dinner (and everyone was still cold until they started dancing; this past Thanksgiving we regretted the outdoor tent; it was 80 degrees at 9:00.)

    But the summers are hot. The year son #1 was born it was 113 degrees and my mother in law swore she got sunburned while inside the house. Somehow we’ve managed with a little pathetic window air conditioning unit in the front of the house (a couple of years ago it was so bad we all slept in the living room for a few days; they called it a “heat storm”)

    Why don’t we have central air? See note above about 100 year old windows. They are so poorly installed and drafty your hair goes back when you walk in a room in winter.

    Why haven’t we replaced the windows? Not one of them is square and none of them share the same size ( thank you Prairie Walker, the woman who designed our house in 1918).

    So we muddle along. I loved summer when my kids were young; I didn’t have to make breakfast and lunch before 7:00 am. We could stay up late and enjoy the cool(er) evenings.

    Now it’s just survival. But it makes me appreciate that first day in October or November when there’s a hint of something that let’s me know it’s over.

    And then my husband and I high five ourselves for surviving another summer.

    • #6
    • February 17, 2018, at 12:39 AM PST
  7. Hartmann von Aue Member

    This was basically going to be the content of my post for the 21st so I will have to edit it now or scrap it and develop a new theme. The point about the limited options to dealing with the heat is dead on. With cold, you’ve got many more options.

    • #7
    • February 17, 2018, at 2:36 AM PST
  8. Pony Convertible Member

    You problem is you left those days around the pool. I always spend my summers playing in the water. If I didn’t I wouldn’t like summer either.

    • #8
    • February 17, 2018, at 4:33 AM PST
    • 1 like
  9. Randy Webster Member

    I sweat at the drop of a hat, so I decided I may as well like it. Summers have been fine ever since.

    • #9
    • February 17, 2018, at 6:25 AM PST
  10. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member

    The two times in my life I had hypothermia were both in August (and in the northern hemisphere). My kids always wondered why I never leave the house without a jacket.

    • #10
    • February 17, 2018, at 8:58 AM PST
  11. Front Seat Cat Member

    Find a pool – ask a neighbor, or put one in – purchase some wine coolers and put up your feet –

    • #11
    • February 18, 2018, at 3:02 PM PST
    • Like
  12. Randy Webster Member

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):
    Find a pool – ask a neighbor, or put one in – purchase some wine coolers and put up your feet –

    Nah. Just lay in some gin and tonic. Maybe a little lime.

    • #12
    • February 18, 2018, at 3:38 PM PST
    • 1 like
  13. Hypatia Inactive

    I’m a winter lover too! Actually what I love is the seasons, the eternal wheel. O the benison: live and die in the temperate zone!

    In one of his books , I think The Birth of the Modern,  Paul Johnson says summer wasn’t always the loooong festival as it is celebrated in America. It was a time of privation; old harvest depleted, new harvest still unripened. A time of agues and fevers, which flourish in the heat. “Midsummer madness” was a thing, possibly caused by eating the last of the ergot-moldy wheat.

    He credits the tent meetings held in summer during the two Great Awakenings with improving summer’s reputation as the ultimate fun! time. It was a chance for young people to meet and mingle unobserved which they otherwise wouldn’t have had. And then there was the tremendous excitement of being in a crowd swept up by the eloquence of the charismatic preacher.

    (Of course, this itinerant preacher phenomenon didn’t start here, but in England. But here, it became an enduring tradition. Read Elmer Gantry, set in the 1930s. )

    Do you think he’s right about that?

    In ny event, I commend you, @cudouglas! Love of and longing for summer is the orthodoxy; it’s nice to hear from a fellow heretic!

    • #13
    • February 19, 2018, at 4:12 AM PST
    • 1 like

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.