I need to tell you something. I hate summer.
Here is where you jerk your head backwards in disbelief so powerfully that your monocle falls into your soup. Either that or your monocle goes flying across the room as you spray your soup all over your computer screen. Or maybe you sling your monocle out the window like a frisbee as you pour soup over your head and your computer screen explodes in slow-motion. Well, I never! Well, I say! I daresay, sir! you splutter haughtily.
Dude, man. I’m not a sir.
How can I hate summer!? Summer is full of graduations and birthdays and weddings and baby showers and lazy lake days and ice cream and bare feet and unabashed love for all mankind! All the food you eat in summer is calorie-free! Also, money falls from trees! In summer! Summer summer summer!
Seriously. Simmer down.
I hate summer, yes, but not for any of the usual reasons. I hate summer because I don’t have one.
Here is where your eye might start to twitch. You might have to furiously pace the room with hands on hips. You might have to physically restrain yourself from booking the next flight to California in order to diligently hunt me down and punch me in the face. You might even have to sit cross-legged right in the middle of the bathtub with all your clothes on and brush your hair while rocking gently back and forth and humming softly.
::: She’s complaining she didn’t have a summer? SHE is COMPLAINING she DIDN’T HAVE A SWELTERING, HORRIFYING, ASS-SWAMPY SUMMER?!? :::
Shh. Put the hairbrush down. Come here. It’s going to be okay.
It’s true. Many of you in the northern hemisphere had a right proper bitch of a summer. Day after day, you sweated through all your clothes. You longed for the shower head to issue forth a steady stream of tiny ice cubes instead of tepid water. On more than one occasion, you caught yourself fantasizing about unbolting the air conditioning unit from its moorings on the wall and hauling it into bed with you to cuddle all night. And we haven’t even begun to talk about the heat yet. My god, the heat.
You, my friends, have more than earned a reprieve.
And now? You get one. Kids and teachers have just gone back to school. American football is back on television in the form of preseason games. People are turning their attention toward acquiring new coats and boots. It seems that sometime towards the end of August we collectively agreed that summer was dead and buried, and it was now time to put on our chunky sweaters and stand outside expectantly awaiting the annual turning of the leaves into bright crimsons and golds. Here in the United States, it is officially AutumnTM.
And here I am, still thinking: what about poor little me? Huh?
Yes, everybody already knows that coastal California doesn’t really “do” seasons. Yawn yawn, you spoiled asshole, just try to complain when I’m digging out of a snowstorm and you’re not even wearing a coat. But some people still aren’t aware that “summer” on the coast of California is the absolute worst time of year. I base this assessment on the crowds of tourists that stream into my particular city from June through August, stubbornly decked out in beachwear and noticeably shivering while gazing up in confusion at the slate grey sky. I watch them from my office window, these tourists, and snort in derision. Then the snorting slowly turns to a coughing fit, and then I realize I kind of accidentally drooled on my shirt, and after I’m done dabbing at it with a used tissue I crank the space heater up a notch and open a can of Chef Boyardee ravioli for lunch.
Summer is our foggiest, ugliest time of year, because the cold air over the ocean gets mad and picks a fight over something the hot inland air said, and then the cold ocean air yanks the marine layer blankets all the way over onto its side of the bed, and the result is that everyone who lives along the water loses big-time. We have special names for these summer months for a reason: May Grey, June Gloom, No Sky July, Fogust. Also, we are drunk, but that’s neither here nor there.
But you know what? Do you know what? We’re just about getting to the time of year when the ocean and the inland usually manage to talk things through, apologize, hug each other, and then have crazy make-up sex. September and October are our absolute best months of the year — it’s warm, crystal-clear, and insanely sunny. You can often go outside without wearing a cardigan and closed-toe shoes. Sometimes — gasp! — you even sweat. I KNOW, RIGHT??? It sounds just like summer for normal people!
But no. Oh, no, it’s supposed to be autumn, now. That was the agreement. Once September rolls around, BAM. You put the pumpkins on the front stoop, set out a bowl of candy corn, and pour some mint Schnapps into that thermos of hot chocolate. WE ALL SIGNED THE SEASONAL CONSENT FORMS AND THEY CANNOT BE UNSIGNED.
But you know what? I’m not gonna do it. I’m not gonna agree to autumn just yet.
While the rest of the nation swills apple cider and dons flannel caps and bathes in maple syrup,1 I will be running around in flip-flops and a sundress. I will close my ears to your autumn talk, la la la I can’t hear you, because my fleeting summer is finally, finally here.
And hot damn, do I ever love it.
1 The rest of the nation are lumberjacks, apparently.