- Alex Boeckl
We've dedicated most of our coverage in this, our inaugural issue of Orlando Weekly's Summer Guide, to things you should do to make the most of summer. But there's another component to surviving summer – you've got to know what not to do. Here's a helpful list of stuff we urge you not to do, unless you're a seasoned veteran of Florida summers. Or if you don't mind being eaten by gators, swept away by tides, poisoned by the sun, etc. Summer is now upon us. Godspeed.
Don't think you're stronger than a rip current
You aren't. Back in the olden postcard days of Florida Kodachrome poverty, the bogeyman in the ocean's ceaseless crash was referred to (rather innocuously) as an "undertow," but these days, everyone's gone whole hog on the semantically more violent "rip current" meme. Television weathermen are the kings of this stuff, so much so that you probably wouldn't even want to go further than knee-high into the tumbling surf for fear that you'll disappear forever and be eaten by 13-and-a-half-foot sharks. And they're right! Just turn on your television for the morning news and you'll hear about at least one death a day from rip currents, warping familial bonds into vacation nightmares. If you must tempt fate and you find yourself in over your head, swim in the direction of the current until the current is gone. Then go find your stuff.
Don't swim in our lakes
Sure, they look all pretty and placid and inviting, but there are gators, water moccasins and brain-eating amoebas lurking in those waters, and they mean to eat you. You're better off braving the rip currents and sharks on the coasts. Seriously.
Don't Volunteer to canvass for a candidate or political initiative
It's a tough time to be knocking on doors with your heart dripping off your sleeve. Even in a hotly contested political summer – Florida is going to decide this bitch, which sort of sucks if you know Florida – now might not be the best time to disrupt the daily agitations of people drinking their last nerve away, pretending their houses aren't underwater when they would rather be swimming. Honestly, the paranoid homebounds are more likely to peek out of the blinds and play dead than endure your unrehearsed script about this candidate's cajones or that latest foreclosure-rescue volley. (Also, that clipboard does make you look suspiciously like a process server). You are probably going to become more familiar with the latest styles of door knockers as they're slammed in your sweating face than with the perceived camaraderie of the electoral system. Your sweat equity isn't worth spending for free; if you have to canvass, get paid to do so. Then you're kind of like a mailman. Watch out for the dogs!
Don't go to an outdoor movie
Oh sure, it sounds like a good idea. Romantic date night: blanket, baguette, bottle of wine, all the Katherine Heigl clichés! Or: fanboy fun on the lawn, drinking pitchers of beer and shouting along with all the catchphrases. Or: "The kids will love it, and no one will give me a dirty look when they start shrieking and running around." All compelling reasons to go to an outdoor movie ... if you're not in Florida. Here in Swampy McGatortown, you will be so busy slapping at (and missing) mosquitoes, mopping crack-sweat out of your underpants and hoping that thing moving around down near your bare leg isn't one of those gigantor "palmetto bug" cockroaches OHMYGODITTOTALLYFUCKINGISANDITJUSTCRAWLEDONMYBARESKINKILLMENOW.
Don't have a baby
Listen, we were young once, too. We remember those long summer nights, kicking the soccer ball along the beach, blond ringlets bouncing in time with the somewhat freed, nubile flesh of a young Elisabeth Shue, Bananarama blaring from the stereo that'll eventually be the source of tension between you and the Cobra Kai.
OK, so our idea of summer breeders is entirely formed by The Karate Kid, but still, heat begets bikinis begets sweaty smooshing and so on until – whoops! – you're expecting!
Chin up, kids. It's only the first mistake of countless hundreds of others you'll make on your way to raising future Daniel-sans. And no, we don't mean the pregnancy is a mistake, but rather it's the getting or being pregnant during the increasingly apocalyptically hot Orlando summers. One of the first things you learn when you're newly occupied is never to get in a hot tub. So think of going outdoors from June through August the same way, only with inner-thigh chafing.
Remember, a typical pregnancy lasts 40 weeks, or about 10 months, not nine. So if you're bumping uglies on a humid August morn, you'll be about ready to pop when those early scorchers come back around. You think the heat makes you cranky now? Wait til you're lugging around a watermelon in your uterus while enduring the heavenly punishment of baked leather seats and tar steam. You gonna put your baby in that car oven? Maybe your mother's right about your maternal instincts, after all, huh? Is she?!?!
Save yourself the self-doubt and stickiness and fuck in the spring like bunnies and pagans do. If all goes well, you'll be set for a winter birth, which, while not exactly snowy down here, will at least invite some divine comparisons. (Hint: Take the "Mother Mary" jokes as your cue to ask for more baby supplies. They can't turn you down!)
Don't buy one of those misting bottle/fan things
It's physics: The water droplets you're spraying on your poor heat-stroked face are convex, thus magnifying the burning rays of the evil sun, hastening the onset of your sunburn and making it exponentially worse. Or not, but that's how it feels.
Don't be a redneck
Wear sunblock. Always.