I know back in the snail-mail-sending days, this would be the time of year your mailbox would be full to the brim with odes of undying devotion from sun-worshippers. I know pagan rituals celebrate your arrival the same way 3rd-graders celebrate the end of school, the same way beer-at-2pm enthusiasts celebrate open-patio-season. And I’ve been trying to match their excitement for decades, but Summer, the truth is I’ve always pretty much hated you. Given that the humidity at the time I’m writing this has made my laptop crash 3 times in as many hours, I can only guess the feeling is mutual.
I realize you’ve got a lot more people on your side than I do. Such an opinion makes for lonely times. Saying I don’t like summer is like saying I don’t like candy or Paul Rudd or manatees. And really, Summer, it’s not you, it’s me. Your beginning does, after all, fall on the day before my birthday, aka personal-New-Year’s-Eve, and you seem bound and determined to remind me of things I usually ignore.
You remind me of how pale I actually am. No matter how much sunscreen I attempt to evenly apply to any and all exposed areas, I always miss a small spot and get burned. This is after years of missing big spots and getting such intense sunstroke that I hallucinated. One day I’ll figure out the perfect algorithm for sunscreen distribution and make my millions when I sell it to Coppertone.
You remind me that my decision to live in major cities, while helping career prospects, is seriously hurting my lung capacity thanks to smog. I often find it hard to breathe here, wondering how the hell I was ever a smoker. One day my sale of the sunscreen algorithm will help me afford to move to the country and clean out decades of toxins.
You remind that I can easily be an antisocial caterpillar instead of a social butterfly. I want to be at all the things: the festivals, the parties, the random free events I can’t even keep track of. But you’ve got me wishing for winter nights, snuggled under a blanket, watching old movies, sipping a hot toady.One day I will not be so claustrophobic (or maybe I always will—I’m okay with that, it means less B.O. in my life.)
You remind me that no matter how hard I try to rally against my disappointment with my body, how much I try to convince other people that they’re stunning creatures, I still find myself staring at the long, lean athletic woman at the pool, wishing I had her figure and seemingly unburneable skin void of tan lines. She moves through the crowd of people without hesitation while I contemplate my pale skin and a body I am dissatisfied with. One day I will stop wishing I was someone else.
You remind me that I can’t go visit my grandmother like I used to every summer after she moved away. She lived in different parts of Ontario and I saved money every year so I could buy a bus ticket to see her, one of my favourite people in the world. She taught me more she ever knew. I loved her more than she ever knew, too. Yes, it’s been 5 years since she died. And yes, she was old and it was her time and all that stuff. But still… one day I might not miss her anymore, and I hope that day never comes.
Like I said, Summer, it’s not you, it’s me.
Follow Erica on twitter @ericaruthkelly