Lazy Days

Forgive me for not writing, but I’ve been very busy enjoying myself by doing absolutely nothing. Not my fault; I had to. The reason for this inactivity is summer: an unexpected*, glorious, dare I say “hot” and unprecedented number of contiguous days, SUMMER!
(* Actually, the weather minders predicted a nice summer back in the very cold and snowy March of this year, but nobody believed them because they lie to us all the time.)

I rest my case.

But this time, they were bang on. The 4th of July dawned a bit grey, but then it got nice, and it has been nice—with blue skies and sunshine—ever since. An atmospheric anomaly of this magnitude and this magnanimity has never occurred in all the years I have lived here.

Since moving to Britain eleven years ago, I have voluntarily worn a pair of shorts exactly three times, and only for brief periods during the warmest part of the day, but this year, I have been wearing shorts for the past three weeks. A few of those days have peaked into the 90s and most were solidly in the 80s. The grass is beginning to crisp, the sun is unrelenting, the pavement is hot as a skillet and we sleep at night with the windows wide open, lying on top of the covers, sweating. I love it.
It is the first time in years I have experience anything like an Upstate New York summer. In fact, this is better than a NY summer; the locals may be complaining about the heat and humidity, but this is merely a shadow of what transpires back home. And we are able to keep the flat at a liveable temperature by keeping the windows and balcony doors open all the time, yet we are not being eaten alive by mosquitoes, gnats and horseflies. That said, I have noticed one or two house files flitting around, a sight that is also unprecedented. That made me want to buy a fly swattersomething I haven’t needed in years but couldn’t live without in NYand nostalgic for those gruesome fly-strips.

I couldn\’t live without a fly swatter, but those fly strips always
struck me as a bit creepy; there was always one in somone\’s grandmother\’s
house, hanging in a corner, covered in dusty fly skeletons.


So far, my wife has vetoed the purchase of either of these items.

The weather, coupled with the fact of my “retirement,” means that this is the first stretch of really fine summer days that I have been totally free to enjoy since the summer break between my junior and senior years in high school—and that, my friends, is a long time, indeed. Therefore, I have dedicated myself to enjoying the days. I have been riding my bike even in the hottest weather, wandering around town soaking up the heat through the soles of my sneakers, lounging around the flat in a pair of shorts and bare feet, drinking cold beer while sitting on the balcony in the sunshine, and enjoying the sultry, summer breeze as it wafts through the windows at night. It’s almost like sleeping outside, and is reminiscent of the summer nights of my childhood, with my own (screened) window open, allowing the scents and sounds of summer inside: the buzz of the cicada, the smell of the pines, the scent of new mowed lawn. (Okay, here it’s usually the smell of the kebab shop and the sound of drunks wending their way home after chucking out time, but still.)
Days like these make me long for watermelon, my mother’s German potatoes salad, ambrosia made with Cool Whip and a can of fruit cocktail and a for-chrissake-proper hot dog that does not come out of a can.

Remember this? Soooooo yummy!

Serious Hot Dog FAIL!
Trust me; I\’m an American, I know.

Today, however, it’s cooler, and due to rain soon, so it’s back to long trousers, regular shoes and, if I read the clouds right, an umbrella. I don’t mind, really. Dressing like a grown-up after all this time is also reminiscent of summers gone by. It’s like the day after Labor Day, when the new school year started and I put on the stiff corduroy pants and paisley print shirt mom bought from the Sears catalogue, the signal that it was time to get on with life and let the easy days of summer fade.
So today I’m getting on with life and back to work (well, after the weekend). And I really won’t mind the rain when it comes; the grass could use a bit of water.