Saturday, June 13, 2009

summer lovin' (and some hating too)

Most people from the south look fondly on summer memories of their childhood. They recall muggy nights with dusty fans slowly churning the thick wet air and the “symphony” of cicadas and crickets drifting in through the charmingly broken screen of their bedroom window. Some reminisce about playing in the sprinkler or slurping watermelon at a block party. All these are picturesque summer events fondly treasured by those who experienced them and remarked upon whenever the conversation should turn to childhood memories or the upcoming summer season. However, these people seem to always forget some key parts of summer living, like the sound of your own feet melting to hot asphalt or the way a sweat drop meanders down your spine to the waistband of your shorts.

Summer has always been my favorite season, and I believe it is simply because I forget the parts of summer that make me want to scream, live naked, or scratch myself to the point of drawing blood. Every year during the summer, I go nearly crazy. Every year I sit on my bed, sick of the same posters on my walls and disgusted at how my bare skin sticks to the sheets. I revisit times where I have claimed summer as my favorite season and shake my head sadly. What was I thinking? Sure, I love the beach and my birthday and not having to (or being able to) wear itchy wool sweaters. Yet even as I doubt myself and the answer I put on that internet personality quiz deciding which Jonas brother I should marry, I still feel a connectedness to summer that goes beyond my current discomfort. Somewhere in the back of my mind I have a Beach Boys song playing and a flashy Margaritaville sign hung up on a cranial wall. Because, you see, summer is a season that sticks with you (quite often literally, especially if you have leather seats).

Perhaps it is the memories that keep me in a summer state of mind. Positive memories from a young age have a way of preserving an attached emotional state, the same way the ice cream truck still gets your attention. For me, every summer is like returning to your favorite restaurant as a kid and discovering rats in the kitchen and a bug in your salad. Maybe it hadn’t always been that way. Maybe time had slowly faded the paint job and rats had only recently moved in. Either way, you feel betrayed by your memories and sad to be away from such simple, happy times. But you never lose those feelings. You still remember your tenth birthday party and various family dinners. And so it is with summer. I can never forget the times that made me love it, but as of now, I’m sweating at my keyboard and wishing my houseful of brothers didn’t necessitate a full set of clothes.

This may sound depressing or hateful towards this season but it assuredly is not. I simply remark upon these feelings because I find it truly odd how startled I am at this revelation year after year and how it always seems new to me. I find it odd that somewhere between September 22 and June 21 I forget the heat and the trouble sleeping and the feel of sunburn. I forget about flipping the pillow and standing in front of the refrigerator and the incurable laziness. I forget about upper lip sweat and milk jug condensation and mosquitoes (how could I ever forget? But I do). I forget the fact that I am terrified of my ceiling fan. Petrified. I frequently picture the entire apparatus wobbling out of control and soaring through the air to slice open my neck or abdomen or even remove a limb or two. Mostly, I forget the noise. So much noise. At night, insects are the “music makers,” endlessly rubbing legs or clicking abdomens. Many writers equate this noise to song, often regarding it as symphonic. It’s not. It is cacophony.
Human forgetfulness is this season’s saving grace. Perhaps this is true of all seasons. Winter may seem majestic until snow melts in your boots or Jack Frost nips at your nose a little too hard. Spring and autumn have their moments as well, and logically they make sense as someone’s favorite season. Spring brings life and vibrant dewy wild flowers, while autumn throws colors like Jackson Pollock. They don’t boast sunburn or heat exhaustion or poison ivy (a gorgeously itchy plant that rears its head for the summer months). Yet for some reason I cannot switch teams. I am not a winter girl or a spring chick or an autumn babe. I love summer.

As much as I complain about the nasty bits, I truly love these three months. All it takes is a little reminiscing and I pine for summer by October 1st. I remember water balloon fights and the smell of sunscreen. I remember the Fourth of July, summer blockbusters, the cool blast of air conditioning, the healing power of cherry slurpies, beach chairs, sand castles, reading piles of books, unsightly goggle marks, salty hair, and the steady rhythm of flip flops. Memories, both good and annoying, keep summer in my heart. And it’s going to stay there no matter how awful it is now. Maybe this year I’ll write a post-it to myself that says: remember to hate summer. You got 47 mosquito bites.


  1. i think you should change your blog name to "birds are assholes". because really, they kind of are.

    and it has a good ring to it.

  2. you actually reminded me of why I hate...LOATHE ENITIRELY...Summer! Thanks! I think I'll climb into my
    garage freezer and never come out.