I know, I know: I suck. I haven't been writing lately. Well, I have been writing, just not anything that I can share with all of you. I've written three short stories in the last two months, helped with a wedding, edited four stories for friends, and in general have been keeping myself quite busy.
Too busy. Summertime is my least favorite time of year. You're supposed to be relaxing and having fun, according to popular mythology, but it's all a big lie. If you're working, you're lucky to be able to take off a week at a time, and frankly, unless I stay at home, one week isn't enough time to go anywhere AND relax. Yes, I love seeing my friends and exploring new towns and seeing the sights, but the stress of planning and traveling and packing and unpacking and sleeping on strange beds and deciding where to eat is not at all relaxing, to me.
And the heat… I grew up in the Central Valley. I hated the heat. I hated being told "at least it's a dry heat" a million fucking times each summer. That's about as helpful and sympathetic as someone saying "at least they're only amputating your arm at the elbow instead of the shoulder." Fuckers. (Although, to be honest, after spending a spring and fall in Ohio with their humidity, I'll take 100 degree dry weather over 85 degree humid weather any day. I felt like my armpits never really dried after a shower.)
Plus, I have to stay indoors most of the time because my luminous, perfectly-alabaster, dainty Victorian maiden, northern European skin bursts into flame when exposed to direct sunlight. I can't think of a single summer I've made it through without at least one really bad sunburn. And now that I'm OLD, I've already had one mystery-lump removed from the skin on my forearm, so I have a scar and divot to remind me to stay out of the sun because it's TOXIC. Fucking sun. The fiery ball in the sky, it burns me!
The traffic sucks, too. Ok, yes, it's my fault for living in a vacation town. But fuck! The traffic is so annoying, it makes me consider relocating to Tofino, B.C. for the summers… Ah, I bet it's nice there right now…
Really, I guess it's just that the pleasures of summer have always seemed like a myth to me. When I was a kid I spent the summers with my dad, after my parents divorced. So while my dad was working, I'd go to my grandparents' house during the day. And they were great and I loved them, but there was nothing to do. So I read. All summer. Every day. I had no friends or playmates, wasn't supposed to use the telephone, and couldn't go anywhere by myself. When I was 9 to 12 it wasn't so bad, but from ages 13 to 15, it was miserable and depressing. Every summer of my youth is this long vast memory of loneliness and depression. Is it any wonder that autumn, the start of a new year, seeing my friends again, was always far more preferable to me than summer?
It's busy and hot and I always have this feeling I'm supposed to be enjoying it more than I am. Frankly, I can't wait until it starts to get dark at a reasonable hour and the fucking birds don't wake me up at 5 AM every day. The only good part about the summer is that it eventually ends.
Oh, and the fruit. I like the fruit.
Well, and all the people wearing next to nothing, wandering around downtown. That's nice, too!
Columns by Wanton Hussy