Friday, June 23, 2006

summer sunshine

Let's get one thing out in the open: last summer, the weather was MISERABLE. Living in Dallas is like living someone else's armpit: it's mucky, kinda stubbly, and you're not really sure you know this person well enough yet to be dealing with their underarm sweat.

Except it's not really humid. Just hot, bakingly, blinding hot, the sun pours down on you for interminable amounts of time until you run (nay, walk as briskly as your heat-headache will allow) to the nearest shelter. If you're like me, and you reject indoor climate control on environmental and financial grounds, this can mean your apartment is every bit as stuffy as the armpit outside. Despite your better efforts to use fans, creative window/blind techniques (open at night, shut during the day), your apartment's generally crappy insulation and proximity to miles upon miles of heat-sucking pavement tend to resist such tactics.

And you, once firm in your beliefs that summer should be spent in the mode of perpetual frolicking, are forced to admit that the only thing you feel like doing (less taking ending naps and sticking your head in the freezer) is play video games wearing as little clothing as possible.

All this in mind from last summer, I've been dreading this one. As the weather grew nicer and the grass greener, I could feel my inner urges to dabble in recreation (frisbee! bikes! gardening!) conflicting with my intense fear of the heat-headache and the languidity.

But you know what? Perhaps it's the build-up, the overexcitement, or the fact that Denton is not entirely covered in pavement ("Welcome to Denton! Ten More Trees Makes A Difference!"), or even that my house is situated at what seems like the mostly northerly inhabited part of the town, poised to receive the best of prairie winds, but this summer has been quite pleasant.

We have our cooling system all set up: windows and blinds closed during the day, wide open as soon as the shadow hits them, a fan in each bedroom window, one pointed outward the other in, little clothing as possible. I know most people are surprised (some incensed!) that we don't use air conditioning, and I know Jason's room is quite warm in the afternoons due to the sun's heady progression to the West, but for the most part we're comfortable. And I've ridden to school on my bicycle, sweaty and hot when I got there, but not unbearable so. I've played ultimate frisbee and worked long hours in the yard, all without what I thought were the unstoppable effects of heatstroke and having my mind burned away by the fury of Texas's empty blue sky.

I may have adjusted since last year. After all, even Austin to the South was more than bearable. But I'm still inclined to think that things have been unseasonably cool.

Or maybe I should try to get out of my house in the middle of the day more.