Public fun-gumption

We know it’s tempting to lock your ass up all summer long and, oh, read some Nabokov, or finish your scrapbook of things you’ve drawn, picked up, or caught in your hair whilst drunk, or to light out for Taos, or Reykjavik.

You pretty much can’t, though, right? Who has the money for a road trip? Who doesn’t get a panic attack of martini-necessitating proportions in a craft store? And Nabokov’s really better cold-weather reading.

But honey, you’ve been indoors too long. Time to mingle with la gente. Sure, it’s hot. Sure, it’s gonna damn well be hot until Hallowe’en-ish. But there are fun times to be had! Look at this:

Next to your front porch (invite us over!), we like Elmendorf Park. An underappreciated Westside gem, ths park sports a lake for fishin’ and wildlife-spying, one of the city’s 21 (Aaargh! We need more like 72!) public pools, a baseball field, a pavilion, and a granite walking trail that’s near a mile-and-a-half long, just so you really feel you’ve earned that freezing cerveza treat. Ahhhh! Elmendorf’s one of the city parks exempted from the ’02 Council vote to ban alcohol in public parks, so’s you know. Heck, you could even throw a nice little beer gathering there; rent it for two hours at a time, with the price ascending with your number of fellow ’40-tippers. For an extra sum, a lifeguard’s included. Maybe a hot one. Don’t offer him beer, though. 3700 W. Commerce, 1-7pm, (210) 202-7275

It’s not just for the homeless anymore, though we bet you’d hear a lot of interesting stories if you curled up with some of the folks collected in Haven for Hope’s Prospects Courtyard. If you’re looking to catch 40 winks … well, there’s a city ordinance that harshes on “camping in public,” which could mean sleeping. Violating it could get you fined $500. And earlier this spring City Council expanded the area in which blocking the Orwellian-named “right of way” is illegal to include all of downtown. But we say stretch out in the pagoda in the King William Park pavilion, and if anybody gives you any guff, give them the Dad Defense: “I was only resting my eyes.” And pssst: we’ve seen people get dozy on nice, cool VIA buses to no ill effect. We just wouldn’t try for longer than 20 minutes or so. Plan your route accordingly.

We researched and everything, but it seems that the only kosher locus for nadando desnudo en público within many miles would be the famed Hippie Hollow, near Austin (we know, we know). Long known for its rocky limestone cliffs, German tourists in sturdy sandals (only), and, well, naked hippies (which could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on what you’re into), this venerable wang-swingin’ swimmin’ hole amounts to a day-trippin’ cultural institution. Definitely, definitely, definitely take and use sunscreen, y’all. Don’t nobody need singed nipples. (Really, though: our fave is to strip nekkid under the summer moon to the tune of the cicadas, and hit the pool at our parents’, our apartment complex `ssshhh, be quiet, though!`, or the San Antonio River (KIDDING. PLEASE BELIEVE WE’RE KIDDING.) If y’all know of other skinny-dipping spots, let us know. By secret email. Hippie Hollow, Open 9am-dusk, 7000 Comanche Trail,

1. DO use a reusable water bottle. Make it a game. Carry a bottle and fill it at every public water fountain you can find. And drink that water. A lot of it. Can you pee clear? You win!
2. Totally DO one of those dorky-ass things like fry an egg on the sidewalk or on the hood of your car. Film that shit and send it to [email protected].
3. DO switch from synthetic chones to 100-percent cotton. We shouldn’t have to explain this to you, but cotton wicks moisture away from your delicate goodies, whereas nylon drawers are more likely to contribute to what we like to call, uh, “swamp crotch.”
4. DO make sure that your animal companions get puh-LENTY of water, every day. If your pets stay outside during the day, make lots of water available and make sure they have a shady area to relax in. If you have an Olde English Sheepdog or an Alaskan Malamute, a. you crazy and b. invest in a restaurant walk-in fridge, convert to windtricity, and be prepared to spend your entire 401k to prevent the poor perro from up and dying. Also: a nice hosing-off never hurt anybody. It’ll make the cat mad, but she’ll get over it.
5. DO, if you are without air conditioning, make use of this tried and true formula for bedtime:
a. Turn the lights off outside, get nakey, and hose off under the moon. (Less-fun alternative: take about a five-minute shower indoors without turning the hot water on at all).
b. Turn the fan on in your bedroom, pointed directly at your bed.
c. Get on the bed naked, using only the top sheet, or nothing, for cover.
d. Pray you fall asleep before you dry out. If it takes a while, get back up and re-wet yourself. Maybe put some ice cubes in a plastic bag and wrap it in a towel to make a “cold baby.” Under no circumstances have sex with another warm person. It is too damn hot.

1. DON’T hang around in your wet swimsuit for too long after swimming or sprinkler-running or whatever, especially if you are a lady. I know it feels nice and cool at first, but this is a recipe for yeast infection. Trust.
2. DON’T, if you are a dude, go “commando.” We know that underpants just seem like another layer of bother, but might we suggest dusting your bathing-suit area with a nice cornstarch-based body power? Especially the, uh, “beans” part of your frank and beans. Menfolk of our acquaintance swear by powdering their rascals. And pants worn commando by a man in July … yeah. We can tell.
3. DON’T drink more alcohol than non-alcoholic drinks at any outdoor party, day or night. And make those non-alky bevvies uncaffeinated; caffeine is a diuretic, too. You can dehydrate very badly, very fast, and become real-ass dead. No. Kidding.
4. DON’T leave your dog, cat, kids, or friend in a breezeless car while you go shopping. Even if you think it’s just gonna be for a minute. And while you’re at it, won’t you check on the viejitas in your nabe, your elderly relatives, and others to make sure they’re not in heat danger? We’ll love you for it, and so will they.
5. DON’T despair. We’re all in this together, amigos! Perhaps it’s our searing summers that make for our strong characters and sunny dispositions.

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