By Nancy Ford
So how is everybody? Doing OK despite these 100°+ temperatures that make Texans feel like they’ve taken jobs as Hollywood stuntwomen wrapped in fire suit?
You’re not crazy with the heat if you think that summers are getting hotter. They are, and it’s not just because myriad Sarah Paulson movies are available on OnDemand, 24/7.
NBCNews.com reported that, according to a study published in June in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, climate change indeed is “making summers hotter and longer, while shrinking the three other seasons. Scientists say the irregularities could have a range of serious implications, affecting human health and agriculture to the environment.”
Yes, you read that right. Summer is getting longer.
Let that sink in a bit: summer is becoming the calendar year’s predominant season, lording over spring, autumn and winter like a big bully who pushes us down on the playground, kneels on our shoulders, and then dangles a thick, nasty stream of spit over our scrunched-up faces until he finally slurps it back up into his big bully mouth.
Too graphic? I think not. The summer struggle is real.
Researchers determined that in the past 60 years, summers have lengthened from an average of 78 days to as many as 95 days long. That’s right — in 2021, summer is 17 days longer! Elementary School Nancy would have welcomed that news when summer vacation seemed to be over before it began. More bike riding! More popsicles! More Vacation Bible School! (Yes, I was that kid.)
Conversely, Social Security Nancy sees the lengthening of summer as evidence that hell truly does exist. Please don’t make me wear flip-flops to Thanksgiving dinner.
This news is one reason I’m giving a tip-of-the-hat to nearly three busloads of intrepid climate-conscious citizens who, despite the horrendous heat, showed up on U.S. Senator Ted Cruz’s River Oaks recently lawn to protest his abysmal response to enacting climate change legislation. Of those three busloads of people, eight were arrested on trespassing charges.
Apparently, Cruz was not at home to shake his cane and tell the protestors to get off his lawn, or to offer them a cool lemonade while he listened to their concerns. Likewise, neither of his daughters was around. Maybe they were in Cancun. Or Nome.
I wasn’t at the Cruz protest, but I have attended my share of constitutionally protected actions, most of which have been related to our LGBTQ community’s struggle for equality.
I marched on the capitol in Austin in the 1980s to support hate crimes legislation. Have I ever been the victim of a hate crime? Thankfully, no, unless you count falling victim to a few really bad haircuts in the ’70s.
I marched on Washington D.C. in the 1993 and 2000 queer protests against Don’t Ask Don’t Tell military policies, and for federal protections of LGBTQs across the board, including same-sex marriage. Do I personally want to be an out-and-proud member of our country’s military? Hell, no; I look like a goober in a helmet. Plus, last time I looked, there’s no such thing as a Tempur-Pedic memory foam cot.
And do I want to marry my girlfriend? Maybe someday. But I absolutely would enjoy the bawdy bachelorette party, after-ceremony champagne reception (complete with Chicken Dance with gifts from Bed Bath & Beyond), and the romantic honeymoon that traditionally accompany a wedding.
In the early 2000s I showed up at a fancy hotel in downtown Houston to protest something outrageous that then-Vice President Dick Cheney did. Has Dick Cheney ever shot me in the face on a hunting trip? No, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t if he had the chance.
I protested because I thought it would be nice for me and other queers to have the options to not get hate-crimed and join the military and get married and maybe even shoot Dick Cheney in his own face if we wanted to. (Note to Secret Service: I’m totally kidding. I don’t want to shoot Dick Cheney or anyone else. I’m a lover, not a face-shooter.)
Which brings me back to this climate change/longer summer thing. First, thanks to all who are working night and day to bring more awareness to the plight of our feverish planet. Greta Thunberg, when you turn 21, I’m buying the drinks.
Second, thanks to my favorite short Communist, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Isn’t it ironic that your chief climate rival, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green’s last name isn’t burnt umber?
And finally, thanks to those busloads of brave folks protesting on Ted Cruz’s front lawn. Keep up the good work. Let me know the next time you’re going to do that. I’ll bring the lemonade.