Steve Otto Columns
Otto: In summer, some things are a given
Some things do stop. My brain shut down weeks ago. But there are events happening out there. Life goes on. Here, for example, are 10 things I can almost guarantee will happen to you before Labor Day: 1 Your air conditioner is going to conk out. I can even tell you when it is going to happen. It will be the hottest day of the century, probably on a Friday night about the time weekend service rates kick in. The part you need won't be available for shipping until the middle of the next week. 2 At some point while you're watching the weather on TV, the "cone of uncertainty," with all those squiggly spaghetti computer model lines, will point directly at Tampa Bay. The lines may change, but that won't happen until you've purchased plywood, batteries, bottled water and about a decade's worth of tuna fish. 3 You will break down and go to the beach with the family. Despite about 12 layers of gooey sunscreen, you will miss a spot behind your ear and be in agony for two weeks.4 You will load up the family wagon and take the family to the mountains to escape the heat. The first thing you will notice as you roll up Interstate 75 is that gasoline has topped the $5 a gallon mark. 5 You've read all those stories and decide to see for yourself and take the family downtown to walk the length of the new Riverwalk. A day later a meter maid discovers your family huddled down by the river trying to boil water to drink and you are airlifted back to civilization. 6 You will buy a boat. 7 You will put a boat up for sale on eBay. 8 You will invite everyone over for a barbecue. It will be a great opportunity to demonstrate your prowess on the grill. Everyone will show up around four in the afternoon. The daily thunderboomer will roll in fifteen minutes later. You will stick it out until lightning hits a transformer at the end of the street, shutting down power everywhere. It will cost you $186.23 after taking everyone to Kojak's barbecue a few blocks away. 9 Relatives will arrive unannounced from Ohio about dinnertime, and just as you've put on your T-shirt and shorts hoping to collapse for a few hours before going to bed. They happen to be on your spouse's side of the family, which means instead of a motel, sofas will be transformed into beds, and that beer you were going to drink while watching the Rays on the tube will stay in the fridge. 10 Those same relatives, after leaving the next morning for a couple of days at Disney World, come back. You pretend to be thrilled with your "Goofy" T-shirt and brace yourself for them sticking around for another week before heading back to Ohio, where, according to the relatives, they do everything better than we do down here.