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Hot Times of Summer Leave Her Cold

Frankly, I think this summer in the Southland business is overrated.

This is what we’re all supposed to be waiting for, right? We’re supposed to be kicking back and soaking it all in.

Throw the top down on the convertible and head for the sand, the surf, the yachts and those greased up hard bodies. It’s all supposed to be good vibes and radical rays--so sultry, sexy, Hollywood, Newport rad.

Now let’s get real.

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I say we recognize this summer Shangri-La for what it is. A hallucination . Probably brought on by sniffing too much ozone. This can cause flashbacks, in neon colors, to the strains of the Grateful Dead.

I just got off the 405. For a while there I was wondering if I ever would. Maybe that’s why I’m like this today--touchy, hot, full of the summertime spirit.

Come to think of it, you were probably on the 405 too. Tailgating. Why you. . . .

Sorry.

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Must be the heat, and the sun. I try to avoid it--summer that is--but it’s not easy. Especially if you actually have to leave home, for whatever reason that might be. That’s when all sorts of summer surprises await you.

Like shorts, for instance.

Have you noticed that everybody is wearing shorts these days? Especially the people who most definitely should not be wearing shorts these days.

Now, don’t take this the wrong way (and you know who you are), but what ever happened to muumuus? Just a thought, but it seems to me that the loose, non-binding style was perfect for these hot summer days. And nights, too.

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Hell, you could even sleep in the things, that’s how versatile they were. Bring them back! Please.

Or how about those long, cotton caftans? In the Middle East, men wear them everywhere. Really keeps them cool-headed, I can tell you that.

And Lord knows we could use more of that this time of year. Keeping our cool, I mean.

People just seem to be more on edge now. Cranky, I guess you could call it. Maybe a little irritable, hard to please. With a know-it-all air about them.

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OK, damn near impossible to live with . If you ask me.

Here’s what I’m talking about. The other day, I’m at the beach with my family.

Beaches are the kinds of places families like to go to in the summer--in the heat, with the cooler, and the chairs, the umbrella, the plastic shovels and the buckets, the towels, books, hats, visors, the paper plates, forks, knives and spoons, the lotion.

Am I forgetting something?

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Yes! You always forget something when you go to the beach. Like why in the world am I doing this?

Oh, yeah. Right. The family. Families like to do this kind of thing in the summer.

So we’re at the beach, my husband, daughter, our neighbors and their three kids, plus a friend of their oldest boy and not to mention everybody else’s kids within a 500-foot radius, who are cleaving to our kids because of their amazing assortment of beach toys.

But I am noticing that I am the only one who is taking summer seriously.

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I am slathered in sun block, wearing a hat, and sunglasses. I am not wearing a bathing suit because I have absolutely no intention of immersing myself in possibly contaminated salt water and because I am very pregnant and get enough stares as it is.

(If a muumuu were available I might have considered it, but I had to make do with shorts.)

Anyway I’m feeling pretty good. Considering we are at the beach, that is. In the summertime.

I want to share this good feeling with others, specifically with one of my loved ones who, I notice, is not adequately prepared for our day at the beach.

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“You better put some lotion on if you don’t want to burn,” I tell him.

“Hm,” he says.

“You’re getting red ,” I say, the gentle inflection in my voice expressing genuine concern.

“I’m all right,” he allows.

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But I detect just the slightest edge in his tone.

So, naturally, I become a little more concerned. I know what the summer can do to people, how sometimes it makes them just crazy out of their minds. They don’t call this the murder season for nothing.

Freeway shootings. Ants on the patio. The kids home from school. Electricity bills. Cellulite. Re-runs on TV. It all adds up. It can make people snap .

So I back off. I believe this is the prudent thing to do. It is not my intention to challenge anyone’s manhood or, God knows, sound like one of those know-it-alls to which I referred earlier.

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Two days later, my loved one has a hard time sleeping. Fact is he’s up most of the night. His sunburn itches. He’s scratching. He doesn’t feel too great.

Me, I feel fine. The trick is not to let this summertime business get to you.


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