Never should such a pretty man say such ugly words, but in the words of the beautiful Jim Morrison, Summers Almost Gone. The bugs might still be here, but the fun is certainly over.
During the summer I am AWOL. By this I mean, Always Winesoaked Outside Lineforming. In terms everyone can understand, I move to our house at the lake, in a tiny little town, outside the technology sphere, drink alarming amounts of white wine and lie in the sun until I grow yet one more set of fine lines and wrinkles.
Here, in this tiny house, I fail miserably to achieve any of the sun drenched fantasies I concoct all winter. While I do run for about the first week I am there, I find that my running schedule interferes with either my desire to sleep past sunrise or cocktail hour, which starts approximately after 11:00 am. The green juices and raw foods I consume during the year fall by the wayside as I become intimate with the chips and cookies which the kids that surround me demand. I never ride into town to the farmer’s market, on an antique bike with a handmade basket on the front, to collect fresh vegetables still dewy with organic goodness. The wind has yet to whip through my long gauzy skirt, my hair doesn’t flow in the breeze. I do manage to swing by Bojangles for butter soaked biscuits occasionally, though, and can now distinguish between generic and Nestle’s raw cookie dough with a 70% scientific accuracy while wearing a blindfold.
My brain atrophies. I read smut and fluff. While I began, in June, to read back through all books by Pearl S. Buck, by this time, the end of summer, I have just finished up the literary high of the adventures of Sookie Stackhouse. I begin a blog in my head and then wander off in another direction because it is incomprehensible to me to remember how to power up my computer. (Hey, look! A squirrel!) My only accomplishment this entire summer has been to completely fold all the towels and swim suits on top of the dryer – one day. Just one day I managed to complete that and it didn’t give me the mountain top high I expected.
My diminutive little cottage has a sweet master bedroom, with a giant, fluffy bed for The Goose and me, that stays somewhat out of the maelstrom. The rest of the house is chaos. Downstairs, there are enormous “kids” piled three to a bed, in the three beds, other mattresses dragged out from closets, four more kids on the sofa, one in a chair and some, in enos, strung from trees. I say kids, though they range from 16 to 21. They each possess two feet that are constantly muddy, 25 outfits thrown haplessly on the floor, and all manufacture crumbs wherever they sit. They each drink only 1/4 of each soft drink can they open and leave the rest to stick on wooden surfaces. They roam like weasels in the night, sneaking beers and baking whatever they can get their hands on while I’m sleeping. They cook everything on broil.
Friends and family come and go daily. We never know who will be there from night to night. Many mornings I awaken to find a whole new cast. Family comes and we float until we’re prunes, going through Dora band-aids and margaritas like Imelda through shoes. I issue the “be on good behavior” decree to all kids, they disregard it, and all goes on as usual and we find that we like it that way. Sometimes there is dancing that causes my daughter to ask me the next morning to never dance again. Some ladies, who are old enough to know better, participate in headstand contests after dinner and some slink away in shame. Friends bring their pontoon over and we idle away hours sunning like seals. We draw endless sharpie tattoos on each other and everyone writes graffiti on the wooden outdoor shower walls. We document the sayings that were funny at the time, like “I’m not above malt liquor” (courtesy of my new sister, the MILK), “twerk on Kirk”, which has something to do with my not dancing anymore and the lyrics to “Grey Goose”, the filthy worded theme song of the summer. Elementary aged children should never be allowed to enter the outdoor shower.
There we have no internet. No television. To make or receive a call, one has to go out the front door, stand by the street and position one’s self just right. Then, we yell and hope someone hears us. If there were a convenient pole, like on Green Acres, we could possibly try climbing that. For entertainment, we buy DVDs at the flea market, of current movies, complete with people coughing and walking in front of the camera. Sometimes we get lucky and there are Japanese subtitles. In this way, we feel we are expanding our linguistic education. Cricket can write the dialogue from the first half of Hangover 3 in Japanese, from memory.
All in all, despite the mess, the chaos, all my hollering and complaining, it’s a simpler, happier way of life. The big news in our little town this summer is that the fire men have TWICE run the firetruck into the firehouse. No murders, no political theatrics. None of the bad feeling that comes along with being plugged into CNN. I am delighted to have missed most of the Zimmerman business. My heart resounds with joy to be in the dark about Weiner. (Now, see? I just snickered to myself over that because I’ve been with teenagers all summer. I’m going to need some time with educated adults to be able to act my age again.) I’ve enjoyed being out of the loop. I live in constant hope of a worldwide EMP that will let us all live small again. (Except for the hair color problem. This does worry me. Being gray in a post apocalyptic world seems somehow less glamorous.)
In the end, I yell and scream, everyone cleans up. There is vacuuming, dusting, endless loads of washing, we clear off the dock, put covers on things, pull out the carpet cleaner and turn off the lights. The little house gives a big sigh and it looks as if we were never there.
Coming home, everything feels big. I’m amazed that we need this much room in which to live. I can’t remember where things are. My animals have shunned me, having fallen in love with their caretakers. My old cat looks older and skinnier and glares at me from her place atop the microwave as if to say “Really? Almost three months? Just pour me some milk, you naked, upright animal with thumbs.” I’m starting to feel that old pull inside me again to clean out some closets, find a calendar and organize us all. I am going to put gas in my car for only the second time this summer. It seems my hair has taken on a very “sun in” tinge and, jumpin’ jesophat, my dermatologist is going to need DMV tools to restore my face. This morning, I caught myself yelling, for the first time all summer, to HURRY UP! I watched the traffic report. I regarded the giant pile of mail. I got a text from the library that I was late. And just like that, we are all forced back into the real world of school, schedules and shoes.
The real world sucks.