Your Life Coach
New experiences and times of change can be stressful, so expect the week's forcast with temperatures capping at a cool 90 degrees to create mass chaos and confusion around Austin.
Like an old crook in Shawshank Redemption, it's tempting to run away from the freedom and hide away in the familiar comfort of your air conditioner. The key, as with any unfamiliar situation, is to move slowly, travel in groups and don't be afraid to ask for help. With a little practice, some determination and our help, you too can experience the rare beauty of the good weather weekend in Houston.
Sure, you eat almost every day. But when the weather is nice, some among us expose our gastronomic process to nature.
If you feel uncomfortable selecting your own outdoor location or abandoning the traditional "table" format, beginners can simply go to the restaurant of their choice. When the hostess asks if you'd prefer inside or patio seating, stifle the automatic response of incredulous laughter followed by "Are you kidding? Inside, please, we aren't masochists." (Also you might want to consider leaving your sexual quirks out of any basic conversation with a host or server—that's just weird.)
Instead just say "patio," or point to any table you see with a shade umbrella overhead. Voila! You're enjoying a pleasant afternoon al fresco. If the natural stimuli—sun, breeze, etc.—make you nervous, just keep ordering drinks until you're tempted to get frisky with the hostess again. But don't. This is lunch, not an Owen Wilson movie.
2. Eating, Part Two
Ready to free yourself from the tyranny of restaurants, tables and chairs? There are two ways to get even more outdoorsy with your chow: Barbecue and picnics.
A barbecue, as some might know, is an apparatus for cooking meat and other foods outside of a kitchen. No one knows why food is superior when it is prepared this way, but it is. I assume it's the healthful fresh air that Houston is known for.
If you own one of these barbecue contraptions, you probably know the best way to use it. (And if you don't, stay off the ones in Austin parks, where a burn ban is still in effect.) I'll just tell you what I've learned from my own experience: If you use charcoal coated in lighter fluid, expect anything you cook to taste coated in lighter fluid as well, and after a long season of bad weather, don't forget to move the grill away from the side of the building, especially if you have aluminum siding. That shit will melt.
For outdoor meals with less potential danger, consider a picnic, which is the French word for "how can there be so many bugs?" God, everything sounds better in French. For a picnic, you can go the traditional sandwich route, but the fancier and more delicious option is to pick up a baguette, some soft cheese, marcona almonds and a couple bottles of wine, like the French originally intended.
If you don't have a picnic basket, just use one of the canvas bags you always forget to take to the grocery store.
3. Athletic activity
Think about it: What answer you give when people ask "What did you do in high school?" (when you don't want to say "drugs") and "What are your hobbies?" (when you don't want to say "watching The Good Wife"). That response is your preferred athletic activity. And whether it's running, tennis, biking, basketball, or Frisbee golf (I'm stretching the definition of "athletic" here), there is a court, a trail, a course or other location where you can actually do that thing you used to do but never do anymore because it's always too hot.
Be sure to tweet and update your Facebook status so people can be impressed by your Frisbee golf dedication and wish they had fun hobbies, too.
4. Buy things
Indulge in some retail therapy al fresco—think farmers markets, flea markets, even wandering the antique stores on just out of town in Fredericksburg.
Don't worry, Best Buy and Target will be there next week when it's gross again.
5. Just exist
If these activities seem like too much, there's a simpler way to enjoy the nice weather without straying too far outside your comfort zone. First think of what you would do on a typical brutal weather weekend.
Read a book? Finish the crossword? Do yoga? Dance around to David Guetta? I know it sounds strange, but modern technology allows you to do many of these same activities while also experiencing a nice day.
Act just like you do at home, but with less inappropriate scratching. Simply take your Kindle/Nano/iPad/etc. and walk out your front door. That's pretty much it.
Whether you end up at Zilker Park, Barton Springs, or just a neighborhood green space, there will likely be somewhere to sit and commune with nature without actually having to pay any attention to it.
Do you want to be that person watching television on your laptop while checking email on your phone? The world is your oyster, and most people will be too busy enjoying life to notice.