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Get a Little Warm in My Heart When I Think of Not Summer

2003-11-13 - 9:08 a.m.

Yes folks, fall is finally here.

What? I live in Texas.

Alright, when I first moved to Philadelphia all those years ago back in the 90s I remember getting very annoyed when all those yankees talked about how we didn't get seasons in Texas. My response was generally "Shut up, we totally get seasons! Just because, y'know, they're warmer seasons doesn't mean they're not seasons. That's totally like saying darker skinned people aren't people because they're darker, YOU RACIST!"

Yeah, I was a political kid.

But now I am willing to admit that they were correct and I was mistaken. Texas does not have seasons in any way, shape, or form. Well, actually, let me retract that statement. We have three seasons: Summer, Summer But Moreso, and Not Summer. As lovely as that may sound to those people who have to cope with enough snow to lock them in their own houses every year, they couldn't handle Summer But Moreso. During Summer But Moreso, pizza delivery guys can take up to two hours getting to your house because, provided they leave the pizza outside for twenty minutes, the cheese will still be hot and melty. Opening a car door during Summer But Moreso is like opening an oven door, which is convenient as you can usually pull out the fresh cookies you made inside while stopping at the bank and have yourself a snack while the car cools down enough to touch the steering wheel without leaving skin behind.

Right now, we're just kicking off Not Summer, and boy have I been ready for it. For the past month, I've been fiending for Fall. I've missed frosty mornings underneath my comforter, not wanting to get out of bed for fear of having a coronary when my feet hit the dorm room floor. I miss putting on sweaters, and the first day you realize you need a coat over it, and then shuffling over to Starbucks to get yourself a huge dose of warm caffeine. I miss College Green covered in brown leaves, the wet crunching sound underneath, the play of light during sunset at 4:30pm whenever I'd leave the LGBT Center (the old and inferior one, but one which held many wonderful memories, including spying on the frat house next door). I want to walk down Locust Walk with my cheeks burning from the wind so bad I can taste it. It tastes like a peppermint mocha.

Of course, I had one of those this morning, but that's beside the point.

I've been waiting for the Peppermint Mocha to make it's annual return. I remember when I had my first one just a couple of years ago, when I was still in Philly. Now, I know that "Peppermint" and "Mocha" are two words you might never want to hear together, but the sharpness of the peppermint is the perfect compliment to the dark richness of the mocha. It's like getting scratched during a massage; the your sense of touch heightens, then relaxes into itself.

Since I can count the days it drops below freezing in Texas (and virtually none of them happen before December or after Valentine's Day, Peppermint Mochas are one of the only ways I can feel winter at all.

I have been trying to do this already at Whole Foods, enojying their various fall-themed deli dishes. I've had anything pumpkin-flavored I can get my hands on (which reminds me: pumpkin beer? Still beer, and therefore ass). I've had pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin ravioli, and pumpkin a la calabaza. I nearly orgasmed over a butternut squash and apple soup that I had the other day. I even broke vegetarian to have turkey and stuffing (along with sweet potatoes and green beans) when I was fighting an allergy attack and the GRE. Yet none of this managed to really make me feel autumnal. This might be because Summer and Not Summer were still fighting for dominance, meaning that I could still go outside in short sleeves and not care in the least.

Today, though, I finally got my peppermint mocha, and on the drive to work I savored the aroma, took a sip, hit a pothole, and spilled it all over my lap.

Which prompted everyone's favorite holiday carol: FUCK FUCK FUCK!!! OW OW OW!!! GODDAMIT THIS HURTS!!!

So I was not in the best mood when I came into the office and promptly changed shirts. But by the time I'd had a few more drinks of coffee (the Starbucks folks had really over-filled it, so even with the massive burns I still had 90% of it left) and a few bites of my scone, I was back in warm memories of the many times I had spilled coffee on the drive to high school.

Because Not Summer may not be Fall, but here in Texas it's still warm enough to go outside in the evenings, and many of the clubs with outdoor areas put out big, beautiful heat lamps or build fires. The other night I was at Cedar Street watching Ginger Leigh, and there were enough heat lamps to make sweaters unnecessary. Of course, any yankees around wouldn't have had sweaters on in that weather anyway.

It took me back to when I thought Not Summer was Fall. I remember that at this time, six whole years ago, I was out at Tycoon Flats with my boyfriend. We weren't going to last much longer; we were too different. I was 17 and had the eagerness of the newly out, while he was 25 and had the intelligence of plankton. But that night we sat surrounded by other gay people, sitting by a fire, listening to the prerequisite lesbian folksingers, and I looked up at the starry sky while he wrapped his arms around me and gave the back of my neck a kiss. It was a perfect moment, and I had been wondering if I'd have a perfect moment like that one before I was, you know, 30. I hope he thought it was perfect, too, because then it would be worth it to him that I stopped calling him a month later, not so much because I was too chicken to break up with him, but because he would never SHUT UP long enough for me to tell him that it wasn't him, it was me (me being the person who thought "Wow, the guy I'm dating is really stupid!").

It's my hope to be somewhere else this time next year. In a perfect world, I'd be learning about Fall on the other side of the Atlantic. California or the Northeast would be good places to spend a fall as well. But I'm really, really glad that I got to have at least one more Not Summer to remember.

And the next time I spill Peppermint Mocha on myself, I can think, "OW! OW! FUCK ME IT HURTS! OW! OWOWOWOW! Good times . . . "

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