16 August 2011

Odious August

I hate August. There is nothing redeeming about the month. No matter where you go in North America, it's hot, sticky, slimy, humid nastiness. While Arizona doesn'tt have as many flying insects as back East, the ones we do have come out in August.

August truly is a psychological hurdle for me in the same way some people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder--the lack of sunlight causes depression for them. This month does the same thing for me.

As a child, August meant impending doom: the start of school. You spend the entire month girding your loins for battle. Shopping for material to make new clothes (store-boughts were too expensive and never fit Hobbits like me anyway), buying new shoes and sneakers for gym class, finding out who your teachers would be. (Eww, you got Mr. Greasy Hair for math? Nooooo!)

August meant baling hay at its worst. The chaff would stick to your already sweaty skin with the first step into the field. Every little bit of dust hung in the air, clogged your nose, burned your throat. Then the bugs would come in hordes, mosquitoes and deer lfies the size of Stealth bombers, leaving huge welts wherever they bit.

The good things in August had begun in July: fresh watermelon and sweet corn, swimming at the lake. But now they were foreshadowed with the clouds of portent. Mr. Greasy Hair would make you suffer for what your sister pulled in his class last year...

August's final hurrah was the start of the Fair season. Friends showed their livestock or maybe you had entered something in the crafts competition at various country fairs or small town events. The Fair started the last few days of the month and always ran through Labor Day, the first Monday of September. Candied apples, fresh pulled taffy, Ferris Wheels and Tilt-a-Whirl rides, the smell of roasted peanuts and the carnival barkers hoping to garner your nickels and quarters. Politicians started their campaign stumping: the Republicans and Democrats at opposite ends of the walkway between the exhibition hall and the midway of rides and games. They all sounded the same to me: promises, promises, shrill and desperate. Nothing's changed as far as that's concerned.

Still, there was a bittersweet tinge to the Fair. School would start the day after it ended and already the social strata system was in full evidence. Cheerleaders with football players, greasers with other "bad" kids, the nerds and socially awkward: layers never truly mixed. You were forced to in school; invisible barriers kept you apart everywhere else.

Now August is still sticky and humid, but I no longer go to fairs. Besides, the Arizona State Fair isn't until November and the Pima County Fair is in the spring.

Someday I hope to go to Australia. I think I'll plan to go for the entire month of August. Yeah! Now, to win that lottery...


  1. Oh dear, I do sympathise, Jude. Summer is my least favourite season because I don't like hot days - although we don't get that many here so I should be grateful for the Vitamin D when I can get it!

    For me, though, August reminds me that autumn is just around the corner - my favourite time of the year. I particularly love from October to December and often wonder if it's because I was born in late October.

  2. Your birthday might have a bit to do with it, Rosemary! Love birthdays! But October is a lovely month, definitely something to look froward to here as well. Where I grew up the leaves changed into a magnificent color palate. Here in the desert the seasons change more subtly: the temperatures drop, the humidity goes back to 10% or less, and trees like cottonwoods and aspen turn brilliant gold.
    I just have to get through August first. ;-)