Hansen: There are two seasons of our content

Last week marked the halfway point of summer, which now means you are either happy or sad.

If you're happy, you are getting closer to actually leaving the house, having your restaurants back and driving the canyon at somewhere near the speed limit.

If you're sad, you are already missing the flush of tourist dollars, the warm ocean and basking in the buzz that makes the city glow.

Regardless of your feeling, you rarely say it out loud. It just is. It's an end of summer inevitability.

We can start to sense the transition, the seasonal shift that East Coasters claim we don't feel. We feel. We just have different visual cues.

Our tans start to fade.

Our flip-flops lose their sponginess.

We stop using sunscreen.

Other areas of the country boast about beautiful falling leaves or early snows. Whatever. I've raked leaves and blown snow. It's a pain.

In October, we still have beach volleyball and bikinis. Admittedly, we wear hoodies at night but at least we're not wearing Sorel winter boots.

In the meantime, before the full brunt of fall, we cling to the sun like some organic wrap of sustenance. We devour it slowly in equal proportions to the lost light.

As the shadows lengthen, we linger. We pause our gaze over the water, admiring the unique diamond field that only comes with summer. The dots glisten and shimmy as if singing some song written by Jackson Pollock.

We don't mind as much the clogged crosswalks because we know it won't be long before the proud, lithe bodies are gone, back to high school or college or Nebraska.

The party will start to thin out, and many residents will look forward to the quiet calm that will once again envelop the city.

"In a way, it's a relief," said Barbara Hamilton, who has lived in Laguna for 35 years. "You live your life a little differently. You get back more into a routine after summer."

Indeed, the routines of fall occupy us: back to school, back to work, back to the life we think we need to live. Responsible. Orderly. Domestic. Productive.

By contrast, we leave summer. Frivolous. Random. Social. Useless.

This dichotomy is our own creation. Culturally, we decided long ago that summer is our vacation time. It's too hot to farm. Teachers need three months off. And kids need more time to play Xbox.

So where does that leave us on the happy-sad scale?

"There's still no guarantee I'm going to find parking," said Hamilton, shaking her head.

We are both happy and sad.

We savor the summer like a frothy mojito, but we also look forward to a perfectly balanced cabernet in winter.

In summer, we like not wearing a wetsuit, but we also like bigger winter waves.

We enjoy having our friends and family crash on our couch and eat all our Have'A Corn Chips, but we also enjoy a quiet evening downtown without people bumping into us.

We are summer and winter, a town balanced and equally enticing.

So sprinkle in your own seasonal happiness as needed.

DAVID HANSEN is a writer and Laguna Beach resident. He can be reached at davidhansen@yahoo.com.

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