Friday, May 16, 2014

Summer of Summer

My first and perhaps last experiment with footie clams.

I don't know about you guys, but summer has always been a bit of a bait-and-switch for me. Magazines do a bang-up job of selling us all on the dream of the season: long, sunny days by the lake; elaborate al fresco meals; beach parties with bonfires and clambakes and sand between our toes. But not since I was a teenager has summer meant that much relaxation and time outside... as a Brooklyn girl with neither beach house nor lawn nor even a balcony the size of a bath mat, I spend most of my summer inside. Cause here's the thing: New York City in the summer is hot as all hell, with no refreshing breezes to be found anywhere except the waterfront. And it smells like garbage. Literally. The heat warms up all the effluvia that leaks out of every trash bag left on the sidewalk outside every restaurant and apartment building, so not only are we all sweating through our T-shirts as we walk along, but we get treated to a vague odor of overheated compost while we do it. 

The other problem is, New York is still New York. Every summer sees a busy and vibrant calendar of cool, fun summer activities in the city: festivals, concerts, and other performances. When I first moved here after college, I eagerly dove into these--free opera on the great lawn of Central Park? Wonderful! Free Derek Trucks concert at the Prospect Park bandshell? Fantastic! But guess what? Everybody else thinks it's wonderful and fantastic, too. It turns out the Central Park opera performances get so crowded that your picnic blanket overlaps that of everyone around you, and you can overhear their conversations as clearly as you did while squashed between two aggressively bragging lawyers on the 4 train that morning. No matter what you do, you can't get away from the crowds.

So every spring, I get all kinds of notions about what I might do with my long, sunlit weekends; and every summer, I just hide in the air conditioning.


This year I am grabbing every conceivable opportunity to get my ass out of town, and, while in town, to make the most of the season. I will gaze at the sea. (Or a lake, or a river.) I will get sand between my toes, or at least grass. I will read books outside in the sun, with an adult beverage in my hand (beer, wine, fruity cocktail; I'm equal opportunity). I got off to a great start last weekend, visiting my sister-in-law's family in lovely Madison, Connecticut.

The beach club in Madison, CT

I read and thoroughly enjoyed Beth Kendrick's newest release, CURE FOR THE COMMON BREAKUP; if you're looking for a funny, light-hearted summer read, you cannot do better than this.

For a summer tune, this sparkly remix of Seals & Croft's "Summer Breeze" is the ultimate. Listen, and wait for the fruity cocktail to materialize in your hand. Works for me every time.

So, tell you what. I'm inviting everybody along. This is the Summer of Summer, and it's going to be good. I'll see you there.

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