There isn’t any ice cream in Death Valley

So, it’s the time of year we have this kind of action.

IMG_3126This is weather that inspires everybody to crank down the AC until it’s reminiscent of a Minnesota winter and we’re all wearing sweaters to meetings and complaining about the heat. Which I think, if you look it up, is the clinical definition of “cracked in the head.”

But I’m no doctor, so don’t take my word for it.

It’s the kind of weather that’ll melt your shoes to pavement if you stand too long in one place.

The kind of weather that might’ve inspired Pharaoh to let Egypt’s workforce take an extended vacation, circumventing the whole locusts-and-lamb’s-blood thing.

The kind of weather that seemed like it should rival geographic locations with the word “Death” in them, except I just Googled “Death Valley weather,” and I realize we’re whine-y amateurs in the weather department.

I think I read somewhere that ice cream trucks give up their rounds in this kind of weather because business sucks when customers think their shoes are likely to melt to the pavement while they’re waiting for their Orange Creamsicle.

Which makes me wonder if “too hot for ice cream” is one of the signs of the apocalypse. Or if God could have just said to Ramses: “dude, you’re being ridiculous, get with the program or I’m going to make it too hot for ice cream, and then everyone’ll be mad at you.”

I’d have listened to that kind of reason.

It’s the kind of weather that inspires camping trips to the mountains, because that’s the only place we’re going to get respite from this baloney, even if it is only a matter of about ten degrees.


And then, when we get there, we’ll post screenshots of the weather apps on our phones to Twitter with a big “neener neener” over our measly ten degrees, and do a little jig until we realize that we’re in the freaking mountains, where the air is thinner and the sun is closer and ninety degrees feels pretty much hot enough to boil water, and sizzle human skin within about ten minutes of direct exposure.

Every January, I get nostalgic for summer and start booking camping spots in the mountains. Time and wind chill have a way of making me forget things like endless rounds of applying sunscreen, sweating in the shade, and how cooking over a fire in this kind of weather makes me want to stab someone.

And now we have our first camping trip of the season to prepare for, which means a full day of shopping, packing, looking for lost gear, food prep, cleaning out and stocking the trailer, getting the truck brakes checked, recruiting someone to make sure the tomato plants don’t turn into crispy critters while we’re gone, borrowing the big tent and cots from mom when we remember the boys are getting too big for the trailer, discussions about why we lug a trailer with the relative mass of the Death Star around every summer in which the kids can’t even sleep any longer, angst over whether we should consider selling our vintage hunk of steel even though it’s tied to virtually every summer memory we have as a family, speculation on how much we might be able to get for the thing on Craigslist and whether we should replace the faded curtains first…

So you know, there’s a lot that goes into just getting to that ten-degree differential.

We were in Oahu once at Christmas, when the weather hovered constantly around eighty degrees and spontaneous light rains would fall, followed by floods of sunshine that was lovely without being too in-your-face. I looked it up: winter, summer, whatever, it’s always the same kind of weather in Hawaii.

Which is probably why it’s Hawaii and not Death Valley, and Hawaiians can say ridiculous things like “live with Aloha.” Aloha, in this case, meaning more than just “hello” and “goodbye,” but also “don’t concern yourself with people who will live in places where the ice cream trucks stop running when people’s shoes start melting to the asphalt. We’re in Hawaii. Let’s go have a piña colada.”

If people in Hawaii say “live with Aloha,” I wonder what people in Death Valley say?

“Why worry about stuff like rocks that move themselves? It’s a bajillion degrees outside. Maybe those rocks aren’t moving. Maybe you’re just hallucinating because you haven’t had a creamsicle in, like, forever.”

Maybe that’s too long to be a catch phrase. And we all know a lack of a good catch phrase is exactly why people don’t move to Death Valley.

That and a serious dearth of ice cream trucks.


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  1. I have a friend who is from Hawaii and – no joke – she prefers the weather in upstate New York. She says it\’s amazingly boring to have the same weather all the time. She also describes The Big Island (where she lived for 10 years) as \”lava on the left, lava on the right\”. So apparently, even Hawaiians have something to complain about.