Fun fact: My last name is Summar, which is Scottish for “People whose surname is pronounced just like the season between spring and fall but is spelled so creatively that they are doomed to hear it mispronounced or see it misspelled for all of eternity.” Thank heavens they shortened all of that to two syllables.
Every one of my middle school and high school yearbooks is full of witticisms like, “Have a great summer, Summar!” and “Whoa… it’s your favorite season.” Generations of Summars have put up with this nonsense since the invention of the yearbook, and I accept that it is our cross to bear.
It’s not the bad attempts at puns that get my goat. (Although come on, people. You can do better. “To Summar-ize the year, it’s been great!” or “I hope your vacation is good, because Summar and some ain’t” or even just, “Have a great Summar!” And those are just off the top of my head.)
No, it’s not the poor wordplay. It’s the factual inaccuracies. I will not have a great summer because it is not my favorite season. In fact, it barely ranks in my top four. I much prefer autumn, with its boot-friendly weather and its holidays dedicated to candy and eating a lot of food. I don’t mind spring because it smells nice. I can even get behind winter because I hate going outside and it’s the one season where that’s acceptable. But my favorite thing about all of those seasons is that they aren’t summer.
Things about Summer that Suck
1. The sun. I understand that the Earth’s axis tilts and that we need the sun because it helps food grow and provides warm patches of light for cats to sleep in. Intellectually I get all that. That doesn’t prevent me from shaking my fists at the sun every single day in the summer. Why is it so hot? And so bright? And why does it stick around until 9pm?
2. The clothes. You’re not supposed to wear black in the summer, eliminating two-thirds of my wardrobe. You have to wear something light enough that you won’t melt into a puddle of human goo the second you walk out the door, but also something that will prevent air conditioning from freezing said human goo puddle when you ooze into a building. Does this versatile garment exist? I have serious doubts.
3. The bodily upkeep. Wearing lighter clothes often means showing more skin, which may mean pressure to shave your legs or armpits. And the sun being all up in Earth’s business means that you spend a lot of the summer sweating, which means you spend the rest of the summer applying deodorant, showering, or praying no one can smell you.
4. The difficulties of being pale in this weather. As soon as I break out the summer dresses, someone inevitably comments on how pale my legs are. I don’t really know why anyone would expect my legs to be tan when the rest of me is uniformly translucent, but for some reason it’s always a big shock. The phrase “corpse-like” has been used. And remember the sun? Remember how close it is to the Earth, sizzling everything to a light golden-brown? I just turn a painful bright red, and then I freckle, and then I wait for melanoma to set in. So my go-to summer look is eight layers of sunscreen, a gardening hat and a long-sleeved shirt that I can wear while swimming. It’s hot, but not in a sexy way.
5. The ways in which homeownership gets 1,000 times more annoying. I miss winter, when my house cooled itself, and I didn’t have to water the lawn, and I wasn’t constantly worried about violating my city’s six-inch weed policy.
6. The bugs.
7. The snakes.
8. The lifeguards.
9. The sandals.
10. The pressure to do stuff outside because the weather is nice. Elderly people die in weather like this all the time, and I may look 25 but deep inside I’m a crotchety 70. Things do not look good for me out there. Plus, swimming in lakes freaks me out and I hate hiking and camping. There are bears outside.
11. The bears.
12. The way I’m pretty sure no one understands how I feel about the Fourth of July except maybe Bruce Springsteen.
Look, I don’t want to be a Negative Nancy. Summer isn’t all bad.
Summer: It’s Ok Sometimes
1. The conviction I have that Bruce Springsteen completely understands how I feel about the Fourth of July.
2. The way lawns smell after they’ve been cut.
3. The times when my boss is like, “Man, it’s a nice day. Everyone get out of here!”
4. The time I save every morning because I don’t have to put on 15 layers of clothing.
5. The prevalence of root beer floats and blueberries.
Those qualities don’t make up for the terrible ones, but they do sort of help. So I’m going to put up with summer once again this year. Partly because I have not figured out hibernation yet, but mostly because there will be root beer floats. And blueberries.