Yvonne Abraham

The weather we love to hate

I’ve noticed something I just have to bring up: It’s hot out.

It seems like every July is like this. Steamy. Sticky. Buggy. Burny.

What gives?


Everyone moves slowly, as if set in aspic. Public transportation becomes an intensely fragrant experience. Sweat plasters one’s hair to one’s head unbecomingly — or imbues it with the texture of toilet brush. Crowds throng to beaches, turning the roads that lead to them into clogged arteries begging to pop. Get off my beaches, people!

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Sorry. Heat and humidity make me irritable. Just like winter cold. And everything in between.

Today: ‘Nice stretch’ of weather ahead

We are New Englanders. We live to shake our fists at the heavens, no matter the season.

And how we love to talk about it all the time. On Twitter and Facebook, the sorry tales of wiltings and air-conditioning mishaps are legion as summer progresses.

On it drags — day after day after day of sweltering sunshine and multiplying insects. Occasionally it breaks, as it did Wednesday, with a long, steady rain. Which is also awful. So wet!


Yes, yes, I know this is the season everybody professes to long for in the dark days of February. But then it comes, and suddenly we’re all talking about how terribly uncomfortable it is.

It’s like that long-distance boyfriend you pine for, until he finally comes to visit and you remember he chews with his mouth open and believes in the New World Order (this totally happened to me). Three days of heat and we’re done, thank you very much.

What did we do to deserve this?

Ignore the typhoons leveling far-off atolls, drought in Africa, the tropics where hot and wet is all they know. No one is as victimized by the vexatious vicissitudes of weather as we.

Not for nothing do the weather reports lead our newscasts most nights. We hang on those chipper meteorological oracles’ every word, riveted to their real-time updates and foreboding prognostications, even though we can get it all instantly on our phones whenever we like. We are armies, gathered around generals Harvey, Pete, Mike, and Tim, trying to divine enemy strategy.


Watching them is all about learning when our suffering might end. The theme of every weather report is relief — from heat, from humidity, from snow, from rain, from wind.

But we might as well face it: Relief never comes. Just a different tribulation, another season of our indignation, as if it were all happening for the very first time.

To wit: winter. It is designed to make you feel desolate, with its polar winds and freezing rains that stab like countless tiny daggers. And don’t get me started on the snow, that white plague. By February, we are desperate, clinging to the pathetic, false hope of the Groundhog Day ritual even though we know it is utterly empty. Shadow or no, it always drags on, beyond all decency, into May. Our suffering is extra suffery in winter.

You would think spring would be our time. But no, spring brings its own horrors. Snow accumulation totals are supplanted by pollen meters. Who can appreciate the buds and birds with rheumy eyes and post-nasal drip? And really, is that much rain absolutely necessary? Also, the water is too cold to swim in.

It’s an awful season, and there’s never enough of it.

And what is fall but winter’s carnival barker, enticing you in with cider doughnuts and pumpkin bisque then — bang! — slamming the door as soon as winter gets its icy hands on you a week or two after Labor Day?

“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,” John Keats lovingly called it. Clearly, the guy never had to rake leaves.

If you like to fly kites, then fall is your time. But the hardy New Englander has no truck with kites.

Or the weather, just about any time.

Did I mention that it’s hot?

Yvonne Abraham is a Globe columnist. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @GlobeAbraham.