Complaints of the cruel summer to come have certainly come.
And come hard.
We’re now more than ankle deep in those triple digit temperatures we’ve come to know and love.
But I remember an easier time.
A time when the mornings and evenings were still bearable. A time when the Earth loved us a little more. A time… like, two weeks ago. Way back when I was considering which movies would keep me cool during the summer months, whether they be new documentaries at FilmBar or old classics to check out from the library.
Ohh, those were the days.
But it has been a strange June. Hasn’t it?
Below normal temperatures during the first part of the month and above normal temperatures during the latter. Well, that all just balances everything out so very comfortably, doesn’t it?
So I will hearken back to the first part of the month…
A time when the lack of natural light made it seem more like Seattle than the Sonoran Desert, leaving a few glorious, scattered sun-drenched rainstorms. A record rainfall on June 5! OK, the ONLY rainfall recorded on that day. Ever. So what if it wasn’t even two-tenths of an inch. But still, hey, maybe that would be a sign of unseasonably cool temps to come! Maybe it will be a mild one! Maybe this summer won’t be so bad!
So by a week into June, I knew I’d better hedge my bets and enjoy our fine city it while I could, before the major league temps started setting in.
Bring on the bike riding!
Me and my mind on two wheels along canals and sidewalks, middle class and under middle class, strip clubs and strip malls.
Ohh say, 12th Street between Camelback and Osborn roads.
Now, that’s one area of Phoenix with all those things. Bike paths were being freshly painted, and around corners, graffiti art was being secretly anointed. Along the canal, a Hispanic father and son discussed, in words I only partially understood, the reasons a shopping cart might end up under water. And on Indian School, moms were starting early with cheap onions, potatoes and other veggies at the $.99 Store. Souls in limbo were also starting early, but for different types of transactions at the Mo’ Money Pawn Shop.
That’s how I spent the early part of this month. That is to say, not hawking sentimental keepsakes, but traversing central Phoenix on two wheels.
But now we’ve hit a string of extreme temperatures and I can’t wake up early enough to enjoy being outside, let alone a bike ride. The highs are hitting needle pin highs. But, as residents of this desert town know, what really tests our mettle is when the low temps don’t get much lower than 85.
And the unending hum of air conditioning units persists across the sprawling Valley…
I like to tell myself these are the times that prove we’re among the toughest of Americans. At least until fall, when we’ll be staring at memes of the east coast blanketed with snow. So, while people in other parts of the country are frolicking under a gentler sun, we’ll just have to settle for swimming pools, flat screen TVs, and DVDs. And maybe FilmBar.
Photos by Philip Haldiman