So, how hot is July in the Big D? Are you serious? Let me put it this way. This is your brain in July in Dallas/Fort Worth:
All smart-assery aside, I rather like this photo. It turned out better than I expected. See, I just got a new digital camera* so I could impress ya’ll with my photographic skillz, and this was the result of my first photo session. (I went back and put relevant photos in selected archive entries too, so don’t be too surprised if you see ’em). I didn’t plan on the golden sky and sharp silhouettes; that just happened, I guess because of the nature of a digital camera, combined with the high haze in the sky and the fact that it was after 8 PM (hurray for Daylight Saving Time!). I’m probably lucky my camera still works after taking this picture, but it performed fine afterward.
Right now I’m almost embarrassed to rattle on about how hot it is in July in the Metroplex, because this evening it was actually cool enough to sit around outside and drink a beer. Still, this was unusual. Since the rains finally stopped about a week ago, it’s been murderously hot and humid. They say we haven’t hit triple digits yet, but I don’t believe it. The area’s official temperature comes from D/FW Airport, and it’s always substantially cooler there than it is along the fringes of the Metroplex. I think they keep the Official Thermometer out of the shade, possibly in a box somewhere, possibly in someone’s office. It’s so hot in Garland (how hot is it?) that our AC can’t bring the temperature down below about 80°. You have to depend on fans for relief.
Still, I’m bloody glad I was born in the 20th century. Good old days, my ass.
I suppose it’s time, now, to repeat my typical refrain, which you’re probably getting tired of: In a normal year… well, by now it wouldn’t have rained since May, if then. Moisture would be at a premium. Cracks big enough to swallow small mammals would have opened up in the ground (woe betide any unmonitored Yorkies or Pomeranians). The heat would be rising off the ground in waves, generating delirious mirages of water dancing on the far pavement. If you went out for a walk, buzzards would have gathered overhead, confident of your impending demise. The only sound would have been the deafening roar of cicadas and of sane people whirring by in their air-conditioned automobiles. The only houses that had green yards would be the ones whose owners watered them even on the days they weren’t supposed to. Spit would evaporate before it hit the ground, much to the dismay of those poor, malnourished plants that were still hanging on.
In July the local water parks start looking real good, suddenly, even if your idea of adventure is a kiddie pool in the back yard. Some of the cities maintain their own; I know Rowlett does, and even Garland has a “Surf and Swim” park. Yeah, they cost a few bucks, but they’re cheaper than the commercial ones and there’s basically the same amount of pee in the water from all the little kids. Oh, and let’s not forget the various Independence Day activities some of the cities offer to their residents. Garland, where I live now, is locally famous for their Star Spangled Fourth celebrations, which include everything from car shows to country music and spectacular fireworks.
Otherwise, your best bet is to grab a brewski and go bowling, not necessarily in that order. Or go see a movie. Or play video games. Or go mall-crawling. Or hide in a deep cave. Are you catching what all these things have in common? Yes, that’s it: air-conditioning. (And don’t bust my chops about the deep cave example. Have you ever been in one? I have, and they’re so cold they may as well have A/C).
You know all those experts who bemoan the way that TV and the Internet and video games have captured the minds of modern American youth, turning the whole generation into couch potatoes despite all these things being what they call “a vast cultural wasteland?” Well, they haven’t taken air conditioning into account. It’s too hot to be outside in the summer if there’s an alternative. Besides, you know all those made-up games like kick-the-can and roll-the-hoop that those experts fondly remember from their own youths? Booooorrrriiiiinnnng. Everything else that’s fun, except maybe fishing, makes you too hot and sweaty. How can all that compare to sitting on your butt in the quiet coolness, facing a glowing glass teat that shows you whatever you want to see and does what you tell it to?
That’s my theory, anyway, but I’ll be damned if those old fogies would ever publish anything as commonsensical as that.
So July in D/FW is, as the old song says, hotter than a match head. But here’s the catch, and it’s one that’s been known to make grown men (OK, me) cry. July, as bad as it is, is just practice for August. I’ll tell you more about that in a few days.
*Don’t worry. My new Nikon CoolPix L11 was relatively cheap, and that’s what credit cards are for anyhow.