By Helena Rodriguez: Local columnist
We know it’s coming every year, Old Man Winter, and yet here on the High Plains, where our wardrobe mostly consists of flip-flops, tank tops and shorts, we’re shocked when we feel that first chill.
The official first day of autumn isn’t until Sept. 23, still a few weeks away, and the first day of winter is Dec. 21. Yet we desert rats run for cover at the first sign of cold weather. If you’re anything like I was this past week, you’re digging those winter jackets and sweaters out of your closet as soon as the temperatures dip below 80 degrees and you’re having crazy thoughts like, “Maybe I should wear close-ended shoes with socks in this rain.”
Here’s a list of other “You know it’s almost winter on the High Plains whens …” which I have compiled as an official farewell to summer 2006.
You know it’s almost winter on the High Plains when …
— You start on that summer weight loss program.
— Your boss finally approves your summer vacation request.
— You make an emergency run for Hatch green chile.
— You get your air-conditioner fixed.
— You forget to turn on the air conditioner (this was an involuntary reflex just a month ago).
— You have to dig out your car manual to remember where the “defrost” button is.
— You become one of the few people still wearing flip-flops and people look at you like you’re weird.
— You get over your summertime blues and wonder where the summer went.
— You start wondering why everyone else is not wearing their Bermudas anymore.
— You finally get that perfect tan.
— You finally find the perfect size bikini, and at the perfect price.
— You decide to begin work on those summer projects.
— You start clearing your calendar for Friday Night Live and Monday night football.
— You decide that those summer vacation postcards you meant to send out in July will make great Christmas cards.
— You realize that the Christmas in July sales at the department stores are over and that those Christmas decorations starting to appear are signs of the real thing.
— Items stored in your garage for that summer yard sale that you’re just now getting around to suddenly start to look like attractive Christmas gifts.
— You get the lawnmower fixed.
— Your lawn is finally looking green.
— You make startling discoveries, like realizing there is a fireplace behind all of that clutter and realizing it would warm things up in the freezing 70-degree weather.
— There’s fog on your car in the morning and so you break out the ice scrapers and snow tires.
— You finally get that postcard you mailed to yourself from the Caribbean this summer.
— You find that $369 pair of Versace sunglasses you lost at the beginning of the summer.
— You finally realize that all of the Summer 2006 reality TV shows were not real.
— The cows at all the dairies start huddling closer together and you think about buying them socks too.
— Politicians start coming out of their hiding places — their summer getaways and extended vacations — and start buttering you up for the November elections.
— That medicine for your summer allergies starts to work.
— Just when you thought you were going to earn a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for watching the most George Lopez reruns, new episodes begin to air.
Helena Rodriguez is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at: helena_rodriguez@ link.freedom.com