Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summertime Blues

The unbearable heaviness of summer took the weekend off but returned to its post Monday. I am a little ashamed - and with good reason, some would say; although this has nothing to do with any other shameful facets of my life - to be whining about summer weather, since I spent all winter complaining about winter weather. Ah, but Grandma, who was on target with "It's hell growing old," also got it right when she said, "As a rule, man's a fool./ When it's hot, he wants it cool./ When its cool, he wants it hot./ Always wanting what is not."

I, however, have an excuse for my summertime crankiness. Apparently, it is a medical fact that people with multiple sclerosis do not do well in the heat. Hot-and-humid was never my favorite climatic condition, and a few years before I was diagnosed, I did notice the weather weighing me down more than in the past. So, when the medical professionals told me that the heat was hard on those with MS, I said, "Aha, I knew it. This weather-induced ennui doesn't have anything to do with age." And I felt so relieved. In truth, the word "ennui" did not pop up in my thoughts that day. It is, however, a word Mom introduced me to many years ago on Myrna Drive; it was the answer to a clue in the crossword puzzle she was doing that day. And since Mom also had a narrow range of acceptable temperatures, I believe my use of the word - while perhaps not an accurate quote in the narrow, persnickety sense - is justified.

The downside of summer weather has been unrelenting this year. In a more normal summer, we have tropical conditions for a week here and a few days there. The rest of the summer is reasonably pleasant - hot, but not oppressive during the day, comfortably cool at night. In those years, there are nights when friendly Canadians send us cool air from across the lake and it gets a little chilly here. This year, the Canadians have banned the export cool, dry air, and the tropical systems, like our politicians, are operating on the premise that it is better to make the people miserable than to occasionally compromise.

Still, life goes on, and in just a few months, I'll again be complaining about the cold. There are exceptions to every rule, of course, but I am not now, nor have I ever been, the exception to Grandma's rule of foolish men.

And, as long as I'm whining; according to the news, e-books are now outselling books. This probably doesn't mean the end of civilization as we know it - and can a civilization with Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck
be called a civilization? - but if bookstores and libraries wither and die before I do, I will surely miss them. I buy most of my books on-line these days, and it's quick, easy and convenient. But, it's not much fun. It's difficult to browse on-line, and the real fun of going to a bookstore or library isn't finding the book I'm looking for, it's finding the book I don't know I'm looking for until I find it.

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