Summer is Coming. You will burn and the crops will wither in front of a merciless and ceaseless sun. The scorched shall inherit the earth and will walk amongst you. Plagues of insects shall torment you mercilessly until you seek shelter in your stifling abode. You will have no respite from these deprivations. The cycle cannot be broken. It is eternal. The tyranny of the sun will be total.
The above paragraph may seem slightly exaggerated but I genuinely don’t like the summer and I frequently verge on irrational hatred for my least favourite of all the seasons.
But what is there to celebrate? I always sense this air of enforced jollity just under the surface during the summer, sort of like a corporate away-day or and informal work meeting. No one is really enjoying it, but it’s socially unacceptable to just say it.
Of course very much being a product of post-industrial, post-modern society, I suffer from hay fever. This can be alleviated by medication, but not being able to go outside because the natural world is attempting to give me a severe allergic reaction has coloured my perception slightly.
I live in Britain, our natural weather is overcast and I’m just not physically and psychologically prepared for searing heat and blinding sunshine. From the number of people I see, beetroot red by late April each year, none of us are really are.
Now, this is where I will list all the reasons that I hate the summer and come across as a curmudgeonly misanthrope:
Cars: Men, and it is mostly men, driving cars with loud music with the windows down. These people seem to think they are cruising through downtown Los Angeles rather than driving through a provincial, rural town. I don’t want to hear your appalling taste in music either, so wind up the window. I reserve a special hatred for convertibles. A type of car that you can only drive with the top down eight and half days a year. You can almost taste the smugness in the air as these people drive by. But at least it gives their owners receding hair line some air while they drive.
Clothing and the lack of it: I include both men and women in this before I get accused of sexism. Men with three-quarter length trousers. Larger people trying to shoehorn themselves into clothes that are obviously too small. Men with the perennial summer favourite of socks and sandals. The proliferation of neon. Women wearing shades that look like they have been stolen off the headlights of a parked lorry. Vest tops. V-neck shirts. Being able to see tastelessly tattooed flesh. Middle-aged men with a beer belly, walking about as if the site of them is a blessing to behold. All types of sandals. Shorts.
Sunbathing and sunburn: By May, every single year, without fail, there are thousands of people throughout the isles that look like they should be given a permanent bed in a burns ward. Having skin that looks like you’ve draped yourself in the products of a tannery is not an attractive look. I have fair skin so I have always been quite wary of sitting out in the sun. When I have tried it, it’s just been excruciatingly boring. Just unrelentingly, mind numbingly boring. The normal human mind isn’t designed to sit in a state of nothingness for hours at a time while it slowly cooks from the outside in. I’m quite content with my milky white, pale complexion and at least when I’m older I won’t have wrinkles that you could fall into.
Insects. Lots and lots of insects. Wasps, bees, flies, ants, daddy long legs, all winged and/or multiple legged, disgusting creatures that appear during the summer like an insectoid Mongol horde.
The heat: The unrelenting and oppressive heat. No one enjoys it. The majority of people will be in an office based environment during the summer. Older buildings, in particular, don’t fare well at this time of year. At night time, what can you do once you have removed all your covers and clothes? Start to flay your skin off? In essence, you don’t get as much sleep during the summer. This brings me on to me next point.
Sunshine: Unless you’re lucky enough to sleep in a room with blackout curtains, at 5:30 am every morning for 4 months, sunlight will penetrate through to your retinas and wake you up from a peaceful slumber. Unless you have shades, you will spend your waking hours squinting and peering at objects throughout the day and then being blinded at random intervals. Of course, if you wear shades, they must be prescription or you can’t see.
The unwanted social pressure: Type in ‘Lose weight for the summer’ into google. You will get 3.2 million hits. Choice search results include: ‘How to lose weight fast for the summer’. This is from popsugar.co.uk Other advice includes ‘The Six Best Summer Foods for Weight Loss’ from webmd.com. Yahoo answers has someone looking for an answer on ‘How to lose weight by the summer fast for teens!!?’. In a similar vein, realsimple.com has a splendid checklist of ‘Fun Summer Activities’. Apparently, in order to have fulfilling summer, you need to do some of the following: ‘eat a whole lobster with your hands’, ‘make lemonade from scratch’ and ‘Eat a soft-serve vanilla ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles’. If all this tires you out, then more sedate activities include ‘sleep in a hammock’ and ‘walk barefoot in the grass’. This is far from unique. You get 134 million results in Goggle search from ‘Amazing things to do in summer’.
Why the pressure to have the ‘best summer ever’? This is what I mean by enforced jollity. This vague corporatisation of a season. Why put yourself under more pressure than is necessary and then feel bad because you didn’t have an amazing summer. What if you do have an ‘amazing summer’ does this mean you have to have an even more amazing one next year?
Increased aggression: I’ve always perceived an air of increased aggression during the summer months. People are outside more. They usually have more alcohol. Both sexes display more flesh. The heat and lack of sleep makes people more irritable and there is usually more social interaction. Public transport is usually much busier, particularly at weekends. Children and teenagers are off school. You could probably add your own anecdotal evidence to this, but you get the point.
In this case, it’s nice to know that my own unfounded, biased prejudices are actually backed up by some data for once. A 2001 paper called ‘Heat and Violence‘ stated that there is a direct link between a rise in temperatures and the correlative increase in violence. It’s probably no coincidence that a lot of the metaphors we use to show anger involve heat (hothead, reaching boiling point, burning with anger etc)
I like drinking tea and warm drinks and they aren’t as comforting during the summer.
Well, there it is. My list of why the summer is one of the worst seasons, against all the perceived wisdom of the rest of society and my fellow humans. Surely I can’t be alone?
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