August 5, 2008
Yes, of course it’s hot. You’re in Austin. It’s August. Every day when you walk outside it feels like you’re standing in front of oven … an oven with a big steaming bowl of water in it. Even the breeze feels like a Labrador panting on the back of your neck. This is the time of year when you ask yourself, “How boring is San Diego … really?” Sure, there are plenty of other places with a milder climate: Hawaii, Miami, L.A. (those 13 million people don’t live there because of the Mexican food and the smog), but all have their drawbacks. Hawaii, along with having too many vowels in its name, also has Hawaiian shirts, which even on people like Tom Selleck are an unforgivable blight on the landscape. Sadly, most are worn by dudes who look like Wilford Brimley. Imagine if Texans went around wearing shirts with bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes on them. Same difference. Miami would be cool – especially if you could turn off the Sound Machine and just lay out on the beach all day without having to watch the leathery funbags of European tourists bounce by above your head. El Lay? Seriously? Eventually those 13 million people are going to figure out a way to fuck up the sweet climate, too. They’re already off to a great start. The irony is that the valley holds in the smog like a huge, toxic bong hit – a veritable red-carpet treatment for the grim reaper. There’s plenty of fresh air in places like Montana and Alaska, but you have to weigh that against half a year of nipple/nut shrinking cold. Just when you start to develop those sexy tan lines you have to wrap them up in Gore-Tex or goose down until the spring thaw. It gets cold in Austin, but you never have to dig a snow tunnel to your driveway or sleep with your sled dogs to fend off frostbite. Generally staying warm isn’t much of a problem at all, unless you pass out on a park bench in mid February and your mangy, homeless, canine companion (wearing the obligatory Bobby McGee, “dirty red bandanna”) doesn’t wake you up by licking the vomit off your face. If you ever needed reassurance that Austin’s climate is nicer than, say, Minneapolis, just compare homeless populations. Ever been annoyed by a squeegee-wielding homeless man on a Minneapolis street corner in February? Right … because there aren’t any. They’re all down in Austin working on their winter tans. Of course, the payback comes in August when the challenge is staying cool. It’s not as tough as it sounds. City pools are free and frio. There’s also Barton Creek, the fountains at Palmer, and if things get really ugly, Waller Creek. If you’re one of those fortunate people whose résumé isn’t printed on a piece of cardboard, you have the option of cooling down in a more genteel setting. Perhaps an Evian spritzer poolside at the Four Seasons? If you want to try something a little more modest but equally decadent, head down to Waterloo Park this Saturday for the second annual Austin Ice Cream Festival. Cool down with ice cream from a variety of different vendors, and enjoy a variety of games, activities, and contests, as well as live music by acts like the 3 Balls of Fire, Loose Cannons, Chad Thomas & the Crazy Kings, and the Biscuit Brothers. Admission is $2, but you’ll want to bring an extra wad for the ice cream. Sometimes being cool can be costly.