Tag Archives: Summer

The Sassy Sundries: My Week in Review

Ah, Summer. Hours, minutes, drift by, and it seems as though we have all the time in the world. I’m rather surprised to discover that Friday is already upon us.

It is, I guess, and so here are the Sassy Sundries, my weekly tally of things political, personal, and nonsensical:

About a quarter-mile up the street from me, people wake up to find a dead body wrapped in a sheet. Police have revealed few details. Freaky. Minus Three

Summer weather. The really hot stuff didn’t last that long, but it’s still been lovely. Plus Two

Sometimes I find myself envying W’s rose-colored glasses. If he has not had someone enchant them for him, I want the address of the company that makes them. How else can he stand up and say that the damning progress report on his surge means that things are looking up? It’s got to be the glasses. I don’t think Congress has the wherewithal to rip them off him, but the House did pass a bill calling for troops to be out of Iraq by April 2008. Minus Five

Speaking of envy, I want me some executive privilege (actually, what I’d really like is some vice presidential privilege—that’s some amazing stuff). I want to be able to defy Congress, break the law (not backing up official e-mails), and get away with it. Bush tells former White House aide Sara Taylor not to testify, and Harriet Miers doesn’t even show up. Congress might hold Miers in contempt, but they don’t seem to have the follow-through to stop the White House. Minus Five

I had a number of adventures this week, with friends and alone. I’m really enjoying this whole urban experiment. Plus Ten

Oh. I have a new roommate. She’s a friend of mine, and she’ll be moving in at the end of the month. I’m a little nervous about living with someone again after so many years on my own, but mostly I’m excited. I think it will be fun. Plus Five

Testimony from the former US Surgeon General reveals the extent of White House tampering with scientific judgment for political purposes. Ted Kennedy introduces a bill to make the position more independent. The new nominee once wrote a paper calling male homosexuality a pathology and unnatural. He might toe the line a bit more. This whole country is going down the tubes. Minus Five

Lady Bird Johnson died. Her husband’s disastrous involvement in Vietnam has all but obscured his domestic achievements (Voting Rights Act, anyone?), but I’d like to say that I admire her stance against segregation and her work to get the country to give a hoot and not pollute. Even

Total Plus: 17
Total Minus: 18


Last Week’s Total: +6

UPDATE: I knew I should have done this later. Two Buck Chuck, the crappy Chardonnay available at Trader Joe’s won a prize for best California Chardonnay. Wine snobs everywhere are groaning. I think the week is now in positive territory, don’t you?


Yesterday afternoon found me sitting in a window seat at the North End’s Caffé Graffiti, enjoying a Campari and soda after a day of wandering about in the sultry heat. I was casually reading my book on Buddhism in America, but mostly I just stared out the window at the people walking by. My “artist” friend was out on the street, and he stared at me like he knew me for a bit before he rode off on his bicycle. Oh well. He wouldn’t have approved of my choice of reading material anyway.

Although I had dressed for the weather in a tank top and loose skirt, the muggy afternoon did its sweaty work. My skirt clung to my legs. Other caffé patrons fanned themselves, and people walked around outside dazed by the sun stupids. Ah, I thought, sipping my drink, Summer.

Summer comes to me in moments, moments where my present fuses with all of those Summer moments of the past. It’s a lazy and shocking realization, if that makes sense.

My most powerful Summer moment, and the one that I was suddenly in, happened in time six or seven years ago while swimming in a lake in New Hampshire.

After a night out at a Portsmouth bar, listening to a band and dancing, my friends and I had driven out in my best friend’s convertible to friends’ place—an old summer camp transformed into a sort-of commune—to go skinny dipping at the lake. We often wound up there on hot summer nights.

Among the usual group, we had a guy with us, a guy my best friend had a crush on. He’d asked me to dance with him at the bar, and I had, thinking that he would dance with all the women. He hadn’t; I think I was the only one he’d asked. Although he was originally from the area, he lived in Chile most of the year, leading mountaineering groups in the Andes. This exotic adventurous spirit combined with his intense brown eyes made us all a little bit in love with him, but friendship is friendship, and my friend had met him first. The rest of us just joked with him in the car and smiled knowingly at our friend.

Heart’s Dreamboat Annie blared in her car stereo, and we sang along badly at the top of our lungs into the hot late-July night on the half-hour drive out to the lake. Upon arrival, we piled out of the car and tromped loudly down to the beach where we proceeded to strip. Most of us did this matter-of-factly (skinny dipping was nothing in this group), but my best friend had been a little shy, and that was when I remembered the guy with us. I mischievously wondered if something would happen with him and my friend.

Laughing, we all ran and dove into the water. That summer had been hot, and, even at night, the lake was just barely cooler than the air. I dove under the water and came up to see a fire cracker explode in the moonlit sky from a camp across the lake. Grinning, I swam out toward the middle of the small lake as another one went off. About fifty yards from shore, I stopped swimming and turned on my back, looking out toward the opposite shore and letting my feet rise above the surface. I could hear my friends, splashing and laughing near the beach, but around me, everything was still.

I heard someone coming, and I turned around to see the guy. I stayed where I was, treading water. He swam toward me until he was a foot or so away and stopped. “Hi,” he said.

“Hey,” I answered. He was staring at me, smiling.

I stared back.

We stayed like that, treading water and staring at each other, and in that moment, it was Summer. We had always been like that, swimming close together and naked on a hot summer night, and we always would be. Neither of us spoke and we made no move to touch each other. We just smiled and stared at each other, both of us experiencing Summer.

My best friend called out, trying to locate everyone. I remembered her crush, and looking away from the guy, I started swimming toward shore.

I didn’t see him again that summer or the next one when he was home. Later on, I heard that he’d moved back to the States and had gotten married. And now he’s dead. He’d been living out West and had hurdled to the Earth in a hang-gliding accident. My friend e-mailed me to tell me the news. She’d asked me if I remembered him, that guy she’d had a little thing for a few years back. I replied that yes, I remembered him. I didn’t tell her that part of me is sharing Summer with him, swimming naked in a lake on a hot July night.

Just as quickly as I was in that moment, Summer passed. A marching band started playing on the next block, and a crowd of people carrying at statue of the Virgin Mary stopped by each restaurant and caffé, demanding money. People clapped, showered the Madonna with cash, and had a fine old time. Just as they passed Caffé Graffiti, the wind picked up and the sky darkened. In another instant, rain began to fall. I finished my drink and walked out into the street, breathing in the metallic rain.