7 Summer Favorites For The AARP Crowd
Movie: Anything playing at a drive-in. Your father will take you in his crimson 1968 Pontiac Bonneville with the paisley decal on the side. You will get to drink Coke and eat french fries, not something you are usually allowed even to smell. Since it’s California, you will all get cold, but you will have sweaters packed. Something embarrassing will happen in the movie, but it will be OK. Driving home, you will almost fall asleep, and pretend you have, so as to enjoy being near your brother and sister without needing to fight with them for touching you.
Oh wait. Drive-ins are a thing of the past. Well, no matter. Sometimes so are we.
Song: Summertime, by Janis Joplin. Not because we are old and forgetful and need to be reminded of the season, but because the song gives us a shot of rueful joy and manages to remind us that right now we might be able to catch the children we used to hush, online. If we hurry.
Meal: Carnitas. Eaten outside, grease dripping from your fingers. Hot sauce hot enough to taste yet respectful of our ability to stomach spice. We may be getting older but we still want our tongues to burn, our eyes to water, and our teeth to bite through crunchy, fatty pork.
Outfit: Linen. Of any kind. Because our mothers taught us how to iron a shirt. Back first, sleeves and cuffs next, then front, then collar.
Read: A murder mystery complex enough to be fun and literate enough to feel like a book. This summer it’s the second book in Stieg Larsson’s series, The Girl Who Played With Fire. It reminds us of Ingmar Bergman. His film Cries and Whispers inspired and scarred us forever.
Moment: The word moment is a tricky one for us. The many moments we forget almost as soon as they happen? The moments when we feel yet again whatever stiffness is our particular nemesis? You see, the word moment reminds us that death is a problem we can’t solve. But. Cheerfulness is also best felt in moments. In fact I don’t find it hard, being cheerful at this point. The moment of breakfast on the longest day of summer, when it’s light before I wake up and the sun comes in the window while I drink tea. The moment when I first walk out into the backyard and hear my sprinklers. The hissing of summer lawns, as Joni Mitchell says. Any moment. Doesn’t matter which one. At any moment I can breathe and feel my fingers and see my toes. At 52 I feel cheerful just seeing blue sky above the highway as I drive.
In the summer I feel like the world is cheerful itself. I'm not sure why, but I do not need to know.
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