May in D/FW: Foreshadowing the Summer


As much as I love the spring weather here in Dallas/Fort Worth, I always cringe whenever May rolls around, and my sense of foreboding grows stronger as the month proceeds. It’s not May’s fault: it’s because those fiendish months of June, July, and August are just around the bend, and I know it won’t be long until I either have to get used to swimming in sweat, or pay through the nose for air-conditioning. As you might guess, I usually just bend over, grab my ankles, and let the electric company have its way with me.

It should be obvious, by now, that summer isn’t my very most favorite time of the year. I realize this is may seem odd, since I spent a large part of my adult life as a professional archeologist: outdoors in all weather, but especially in the height of summer, when it’s easiest to dig. This may not have been the best career choice for me, as I’m made for cooler weather. Thanks to my primarily German ancestry (despite my French surname), I’m blond, fair-skinned, and (ahem) “big-boned.” I can’t got out in shorts or shirtless because I’ll turn as red as an Amish virgin at a Chippendale performance, so I have to cover myself completely. Oh, and did I mention I’m hairy and too lazy to shave, so I have a full beard and all that? I feel like a goddamn bear when I’m walking through the woods. A very hot and sweaty one, if slightly balding.

Damn, I’m good at going off on tangents, aren’t I? So let’s get back to May weather in Dallas/Fort Worth. Despite the fact that May’s approach generates in me a vast sense of named dread (which, as British writer Terry Pratchett points out, is somewhat more pointed than nameless dread), the actual weather in May tends to be some of the best of the year. April is also excellent, as I’ve already banged on about in a previous post, and, sure, September and October aren’t bad; but May’s the last fling before we hunker down for summer, when it gets hot enough to make earwax melt. Okay, so it’s not like we’re in Fallujah or Death Valley, where it gets 120° in the shade, but a high-humidity 105° is bad enough. And besides, we’re Americans here, and we have a Constitutional right to bitch and complain. I think it’s mentioned in the Bill of Rights, somewhere after the one about keeping and arming bears.

Anyhow: May. When you visit, don’t bring your long underwear or sweaters because you won’t need them, except maybe in the movie theaters, where they keep the temperature down so the ice in your drinks won’t melt. (Because giving you free liquids would ruin their profit margin.) Outdoor temperatures are usually pleasantly in the 70s and 80s, and you can even sit outside and enjoy the weather — a concept that’s laughable for most of the year. Typically, the maximum temperatures and most direct sunlight occur between 10 AM and 2 PM, so that’s when you want to get your tanning done. It’s warm enough to enjoy a water park or a swim in one of our many lakes, but not so hot that heatstroke is a real possibility. Oh, and there’s this undeniable sense of well-being that most of us feel early in the month, now that it’s finally warm and comfortable, and we haven’t allowed ourselves the soul-destroying realization that, yes, summer is almost upon us.

For it is sad truth that once June dawns, the year’s enjoyability quotient plummets like a Warner Brothers character who runs off a cliff and remembers, suddenly and belatedly, that gravity still exists. My advice: come spend your money in April or May, before the heat becomes unbearable, or resign yourself to a vacation spent mostly indoors.

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