summer and air conditioning

The summer was my favorite season when I was a kid. I grew up in Buffalo, NY where an average day from mid June till the end of August was sunny and 80 degrees with low or no humidity. We did not have air conditioning. No one we knew had air conditioning. We had an above ground pool. From age eight till about twelve, I spent the better part of two and a half months in our pool. 

The mid-1980s was a time before the word calories crossed my mind and I was living how every kid should -- outside, swimming, eating drippy red-stained popsicles and sleeping like a rock from exhaustion. Beyond swimming, I gobbled up food from the grill, watched the Little Mermaid daily and I reread the likes of Babysitters Club series in favor of my Dad's idea of a summer reading list (Johnny Tremain? Come on, Daaaaaad.). 

We played games in the pool, sometimes having ten people bobbing around happily in three and a half feet of water. Our favorite pool game was the beloved, FOOD. I can't be sure, but I'm almost positive that my cousins made it up on the spot one afternoon. It was played like this: the person who is IT stands in the middle of the pool with their eyes closed while the players line up on one side of the pool. Then, the person who is IT says a food aloud. If you like the food, you swim across to the other side of the pool without getting tagged. And this would go on, till someone was caught and then they would be IT. Clearly, it was legendary at our pool. All who visited were required to play.

I know this all sounds idyllic, well, it was. I was lucky to have such a childhood. I know that. 

Now, I live in Virginia and it's brutally hotter than hot and everything needs to be air conditioned to a frigid level to maintain sanity. The women I know wear sleeveless dresses outside with overcoats on top of them inside. Summer is not my favorite month. We do not have an above ground pool. I miss the fresh air feeling and a pool that only got to 72 degrees on a good day. Yeah, we've got a pool, but I can't fit more than an elbow and Atticus in it at the same time. Since I've finally accepted that Nelson is not buying me an above ground pool for my 35th birthday, I did what any sane person would do. I created milkshake night. I made two rounds: first up was blueberry, followed by oreo cookie. I made a point to ditch my usual nightly blanket up to my eyes while I slurped down my milkshakes and cursed the reigning jeopardy champ in non-curse words.

We're off to enjoy Buffalo summer for a few days next week. And then there is Buffalo winter from November to May. Don't worry. I will not wax nostalgic about that.