hanging round the airport.
Iím looking for the plane
Something sweet and sticky
Running down my hand.
Popsicle of love
Gimme, gimme, gimme one of those
Itís summertime, love.
Honey, honey, honey, donít let go.
Itís summertime, love.
The peaches on the dining room table have ripened enough to
drip their juice against the uncut honeydew melon in the green
A pitcher of sleepy yellow gladioli droops over a half-finished
chess game and a cup of leftover coffee.
Thereís a laundry basket of unfolded whites on one of the
chairs and, atop that, the portable phone, left behind when
Linnea was summoned forth for a bike ride. On the bookcase,
a bowl with the color and sheen of whole milk holds dried
lavender. The fragrance drapes the air.
Upstairs in the study, the walls are half-painted the color
of perfectly boiled shrimp. The floor is strewn with caulk
guns, hardware, rough drafts, teacups and books. An unscrewed
wall sconce leans forward as if it might strike up a conversation.
My can of WD-40 sits on the desk hard by the black-leather
The house is full of clutteróyogurt cartons in the upstairs
bathroom, unsorted mail on the kitchen table, pillows spilling
onto the floor from the beds, from the sofa. The backyard
sprouts random patches of dandelions and raspberries in a
democracy of flora few homeowners would abide.
But suddenly I donít care.
Itís summertime, love.
Keeping to a schedule and minding the clutter seem like banal
pursuits. Especially when you can sit in the yard and watch
sunlight lacquering the maple leaves and stippling their trunks.
And this is just the first day of the best heat.
The kids are home from school. My schedule is unclenching
its fist hold on my soul. I can feel the Nissan slogan decomposing
deep in my bones. At lastóI am Un-Driven.
Itís like discovering an alternate persona inside my own skin.
It wasnít always like this.
Though I canít even muster a game face about winter, I still
manage a little trumped-up oohing-and-ahhing over autumn leaves
and early crocuses.
But itís summertime I love.
And the more humid, the better.
Because whether I work at home or at my office, I canít escape
the heatóand so Iíve learned that what heat does is disarm
you, slow you down, rule out the workaholic option. Because
itís just too hot to do too damn much.
So trying to either flee the heat or beat the heat is the
wrong approach to the season.
Itís simply a myth that an air- conditioned office is a more
humane working environment than a non-air-conditioned one.
Just the opposite is the case.
Air-conditioning is simply the business cultureís version
of the carrot-and-stick game. People who work in offices where
the temperature is always cold enough to perpetuate the marketing
of J. Crew sweaters believe they are being kept at comfort
level. All thatís really happening is that they are being
denied the somnolence and sensuality, which is the best of
Hot, humid weather is blessedly disenabling.
Take a cue from your Daytimer. In a non-air-conditioned environment,
those pages cling to your fingers. The ink of your task list
transfers itself to your forearms, reminding you just how
stubbornly hidebound our schedules really are.
Take a cue from your clothes. If youíre not working in air-conditioning,
you canít dress seriously. You have to wear sandals or sundresses
or bizarre combinations of jerseys and sweatpants with cut-out
necks and legs and arms. In the summertime, skin seeks air.
Take a cue from your brain. Itís too hot to be nasty, neurotic
or compulsive, so your brain acquires a pleasant airheaded
quality. So your thoughts naturally address the key topics
of summertime thinking: Is it better to make lemonade or sun
tea? Should the potatoes be peeled for the vichyssoise? And
whose turn is it, anyway, to slice the limes for the gin and
Naturally, duty does call during the summer months; you do
have to attend to tasks. So you might want to spend a couple
of hours in front of the fan, answering e-mail, writing reports,
earning your bread and board. But thatís only so that you
can eventually shut the fan off, stock the picnic basket and
sit by the side of a noisy creek.
At least, thatís the best advice I can give, considering my
current state of mind.
Which is summer-struck, to say the least.
Iíve got to go fetch one daughter from a friendís swimming
pool. The other daughter is busy pouring juice into special
Popsicle molds. A friend of mine is leaving her air-conditioned
offices to join us for something weíre going to throw on the
grill. Weíre not sure what, yetóthatís too far to plan ahead.
But for now, Iím about to silence the whir of this busy computer
and listen instead for the sounds of lawn mowers and ice cream
trucks. After supper, I may finish up the chess game or sink
into the bathtub.
Then, much later, when the kids are in bed and my friend has
gone home, Iíll lay the clean sheets across my bed and replace
the summer comforter in its butter-colored covering. I will
still smell the heavy scent of lavender or the trailing aroma
of an extinguished candle flame. And it will be time, at last,
for a summerís night of sleep.
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