The only southern Arizonans out and about in midsummer are the bright-eyed, early-morning people, of which I am not one. Summer is when I hermit (yes, in my world, hermit is a verb ) Venturing out in the pounding heat, when the interior temperature of a parked car can reach 150 I-can’t-breathe-degrees, is right up there on my “No Bloody Way” scale with driving through a desert monsoon storm. I concede that the dramatic skies and bolts of lightning are spectacular, but. . . . No. Can’t deal with zero visibility, rain too heavy for the windshield wipers to keep up, and the stress of navigating flooded streets and all the detours caused by overflowing, gushing washes. Am I a wimp? Absolutely. I own up to it unembarrassed and unperturbed by negative comments, so don’t try to shame me. I’m impervious.
Just as the thermometer creeps towards 100-plus degrees, but before the heat numbs my brain and drains my motivation, I begin to plan my summer projects. We’re talking indoor projects, of course. Let’s all be sensible here.
With the air conditioning cranked, I become a whirlwind of productivity. Paper shredding is a top priority: outdated files and manuscripts, miscellaneous flyers and papers, old credit card statements—all the accumulated clutter that buries us. Feeding the shredder offers instant gratification: mess be gone. So from June through early September, in my domestic domain the silver gleams, cupboards empty, closets clear; it’s all very satisfying. This year my to-do list was ready by late May, but summer 2019 took a different turn, leaving my shredding machine idle and quiet.
June opened to record low temperatures, urging me out of the house, into the garden, and off to farmer’s markets. And then I got the best news ever. My bestie had been invited to pet-sit in Tucson for two months. She was arriving from England the end of June, with plans to stay until Labor Day. Jo enjoys being out and about, and I enjoy to hanging out with Jo, so her arrival wiped my project slate clean.
The summer days have flown by like a scene from 1940s movie where pages fly off the calendar. And, as Jo’s visit winds to a close, nothing has been crossed off my projects list. And guess what? Life goes on even though not one of those so very important tasks were done. When the sun sets on August and my calendar opens to Sept, I’ll close my eyes to cluttered cupboards and instead revisit all the photographs from this summer. I’ll face Fall with an unorganized home office, but with a fuller heart because of time spent with Jo and our mutual friends.
There’s an old saying my mother was fond of quoting, which is the basis for my obsessive work ethic: Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. It has, however, taken on new meaning. Having an orderly house does not deserve to hold a higher priority in one’s life than spending time with friends--with those wonderful souls who make you engage in life and laugh.
And there’s another old adage that can be interpreted in a less sarcastic way than it was originally intended: Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. I did mention that Jo is British, right? Did I also mention both my parents were British? Seems that this summer both friendship and DNA won out, and I survived the midday sun just fine. Or maybe it takes being a bit of a mad dog to learn new tricks. As Jo would say, “Heigh-ho.”
Lynn Nicholas - AUTHOR oF Dancing Between The Beats
My blog is a window into my world. My slice-of-life narratives are triggered by life's