We just got back from 10 days in Texas, where the sun shone down and soaked us with 97-99 degrees Fahrenheit the entire time. Not a drop of rain. Not a cool breeze in the air. Beautiful brown grass in most middle-class lawns. I would walk outside, drenched in sunblock and quickly in sweat, only to breath in what felt like hot smoky air. Texans, how do you survive the heat?
Our visit took us to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex that consists of dry heat which I’ve always thought is better than Houston’s humidity. But man oh man, I don’t get it. It’s September, when most people are thinking about pumpkin spice lattes, apple picking, and the soon-to-be changing of the leaves. How can you possibly go to corn mazes and pumpkin patches when it’s 97 degrees outside?
What’s ironic is everyone, and I mean EVERYONE – because in Texas the people are extremely friendly whether you know them or not – everyone told me it was a ‘mild summer’ because they had not experienced the 10+ consecutive days of 100+ degree weather. Well, aww-be-damn, lucky me! (I think the heat might have triggered my brain to trigger my mouth to speak Texan.)
Truth be told, I lived in Texas for 10 years, 6 of which I spent in the DFW area before going off to Austin for college. My parents still live in the DFW area. They continue to sweat it out but did manage to get themselves a pool!
I left 15 years ago and have only gone back to visit. I used to visit frequently but life got busy and much to my mother’s disliking I had not been in almost two years since December 2011. It is not hot in Texas in December. Pools are definitely closed and Christmas lights are out. I could drink all the winter-flavored lattes I want and be just fine. In fact, for the last few years some areas of the Metroplex have even seen snow on or around Christmas. Of course the entire area shuts down since this is highly unlikely. Anyway, I digress…
I remember missing warm weather after leaving Texas and moving to Boston all those years ago. I’m not sure what changed since then but somehow I have gotten used to living in the north and enjoying 4 seasons. It’s almost a guarantee that right after Labor Day the weather shifts and it is officially Fall in everyone’s mind. We love it. In Ohio, Fall brings wonderfully cool nights, crisp mornings, and sunny days of outdoor fun.
In Texas, I spent probably a total of 4 hours outside in 10 days. One hour was walking at a nearby park at 8 am. I left that park with bright red cheeks, crying eyes from the sweat that trickled down and a misunderstanding with my body that I could do a fast walk and leg lunges without feeling a thing. The warmer weather had tricked me.
The second hour was spent in my parents pool, some of which was immediately after that walk. It was like taking a luke-warm bath. In fact, one of the times I went in the pool the water had cooled off a bit and I was “cold.” Odd that I could swim in our little pop-up pool in Ohio when the water isn’t even 80 degrees.
The last two hours were spent at the Fort Worth Zoo. My daughter loves going to the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium and it’s hard to beat, but we’re always trying to see if other zoos can compare. We arrived at 10 am and left just after noon because I was sweltering hot and although I had packed and bought an abundance of water we were tired. That’s the thing about the heat, it makes you tired. Why is Texas not like Spain and honor siestas? We both took naps that day.
That was my 4 hours in the heat. I should probably add another 30 minutes for getting in and out of cars because even in the 60 to 90 seconds it took to start the car, buckle my daughter up in her car seat, and hop back in myself – I was hot. Want to know the worst thing about the heat that I clearly remember from when I used to live in Texas and that has not changed? The buildings are cold. Almost every indoor place we went felt nice upon entering, and then there was that rush of shivers that took over from the sweat being iced over. It’s why runners get blankets whether they’ve done a 5k or a marathon. My body just didn’t adjust.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love Texas. My mind immediately goes to that song… ‘deep in the heart of Texas.’ I used to joke with my US friends that the only country you didn’t need a passport to visit was Texas. There is great history there, wonderfully nice people with fun-to-hear accents (except when I can’t understand them!), and except for the extreme heat that hits from July through most of September, an all-around good climate.
In the hotter months, the Zoo along with many outdoor patios at restaurants and other touristy places, have sprayers that give a light dusting of water to help their passers-by cool off. But even with that, those 3-4 months are like what many of us northerners do during the winter, hibernate. It is too hot to do much of anything just like it is too cold in the north. In April, when I talk to my about-to-disown-me mother, she is swimming in her pool when I’m still wearing a light winter coat. There are trade-offs for sure. I guess it just depends on what kind of trade-off you want. Somehow though I think there is a secret that Texans aren’t telling us. So I ask you, Texans, how do YOU survive the heat?
Just curious, do prefer the hot or the cold weather? Where is your favorite place to experience it? Tell me in the comment section, thanks!