July 18 will be the most perfect day of the year. Possibly ever. The science has spoken.
Or rather, familydestinationsguide.com has spoken. They sent a press release proclaiming July 18 to be the best day of summer, based on some special-herbs-and-spices recipe that crunches the averages.
But what's perfect? It's completely subjective. I like hot and humid at night, because it feels tropical and sultry, and thus gives me a good reason to break out my steel drums and practice "The Pina Colada Song" until the neighbor throws a shoe at me. Always something about the kids waking up. Others like something in the mid-'70s, to which I say, "Well, that's about when 'The Pina Colada Song' was released, so ... oh, right, mid-70s temperatures. Got it."
Perfect is good, but so is variety. When I lived in Washington, D.C., summers were miserably humid. You'd walk to work feeling like you were clawing your way through a wall of wet cotton. But there was a thunderstorm every day at 5 p.m. sharp, as if Disney was running the place and this was part of the daily show. Since then, I've come to appreciate a day that contains many moods.
It starts with sun and fresh dew and the birds all singing "Dawn" by Edvard Grieg. The sky is cloudless, and the blue firmament a testament to the beauty of our lovely planet. By noon, it is hot, but it's the good hot. The hot that gives you perspective, because five months ago the air felt like you were inhaling powdered glass.
This was the day you yearned for then, and now you're complaining that it's 3 degrees warmer than you prefer? Human nature, I suppose. A starving man on a desert island dreams of a banquet, gets rescued, someone hands him a sandwich, and he says, "I hope it doesn't have cilantro."
Bad hot is when you realize the sun would happily boil away the oceans if we got any closer; all those pictures of long, angry solar flares make you think of a dog at the end of its chain, snarling.
We will accept a range of temps between good hot and bad hot between noon and 5 p.m., but after 5, we feel as if we've held up our part of the bargain by enduring it and the sun should just back off, buster. This is where the early evening storm ought to show up.
Admit it: Weather drama is exciting. The sky darkens with biblical portents; the TV starts running the parade of Affected Counties. You watch the radar maps as the jagged red beast slouches toward Bloomington. You thrill to the sudden rustle in the trees, watch them waver and bend as though wondering which faction to back, and then it's here, the brute, the growling barking flashing thing, sparking and cracking, pelting the windows with a welter of wet ammo, and for a moment, no matter how long you've been alive, you feel a flicker of fear.
It passes. It always passes. The sun returns, and the evening is glorious.
I'm also a fan of the late-night thunderstorm, and the mid-morning thunderstorm. The afternoon thunderstorm seems a bit annoying and self-important, as if everyone's busy and it's peeved we're not all cowering and sacrificing goats or something.
Maybe tomorrow will be perfect. Perhaps it won't. But it will be a day in our summer, which is the very definition of good. That isn't science, but it's true nonetheless.