You came and left too soon. I know there’s still a week of August left but it feels like you’re already gone. It’s been cooler in the mornings when I go outside to get the paper and summer clothes aren’t even on clearance anymore at H&M, they’re just gone. I’ve officially given up on (my version of) a summer body because if it didn’t happen by three weeks ago it’s not happening. I can accept that––the cookie butter ice cream from Trader Joe’s is worth it. Plus, flowy shift dresses are having a party right now and I’ve got like seven of them, one for each day of the week, perfect for any time of the month if you know what I’m sayin’. In fact, I just ordered a new one because it dawned on me recently that I don’t have a black shift dress, which is ridiculous because if there’s one thing a woman needs, especially during the worst week of the month––if you know what I’m sayin’––it’s a flowy shift dress that is black. You know what I call that? No fear. A force field that feels like sweatpants, but with a breeze.
Summer, out of all the seasons, I still like you best of all. Our relationship has metamorphosed over the years and I don’t get to enjoy you like I once did––at the public pool eating a bag of chips while hidden under a towel tucked into the back of my mom’s lounge chair so that the lifeguards can’t see me and aggressively blow their whistles while making “NO, STOP” gestures. No, summer is different when you’re 27, and not just because you’re older than all the lifeguards with whom you might cross paths by at least a decade, and you can whistle at them for not respecting their elders and getting in your way, chump. Go on, get!
I need look no further than my planner for an idea of just how different my summers are now that I’m a bona fide adult because 1) I have a planner, and 2) today’s entry in said planner reads “Google Greek yogurt recipes.” You want to know why that is, Summer? It’s because I bought too much Greek yogurt, and that shit’s too expensive to just throw away. If my 10-year-old self had any idea what Greek yogurt was she’d have cried at the thought of having to find recipes for it one day in the summertime, a time of year that should be reserved for more worthwhile pursuits like watching all three hours of VH1’s New Videos every morning, or flagging down the ice cream truck for a chocolate eclair. On the other hand, she would appreciate my ongoing commitment to life organization and daily planning, because that girl knew what was what.
This is not to say that summer as an adult isn’t without its perks. For one thing, margaritas. Like Ecto Cooler but mature. For another, have I mentioned shift dresses yet? Most of the time work clothes cause digestive problems (just me?) but OH HO HO HO not in the summer! Enter: shift dress. Free as a bird, light as a turd. I really can’t say enough good things about them.
Another thing is vacations. Now that I’m old and can drive and have a credit card, I can go places of my choosing without parental permission and do what I want, like eat dinner at 11 PM. (YOLO, right?) Take Las Vegas, which is my favorite city in any season but especially in the summer, even if I do sweat through at least three pairs of underwear a day. I was there for a week this past July and packed enough clothes for three months, a fact at which everyone guffawed; but I had the last and heartiest guffaw of all because Las Vegas in a heat wave is essentially a sweat lodge, but with lights and hookers and video poker. As I’m sure all fellow sufferers of undiagnosed and mild forms of Raynaud’s phenomenon will agree, Las Vegas is the ideal climate for maintaining our physiological homeostasis––we never have to worry about our toes turning purple. I’m also a fan of the city’s arid desert air, which works wonders on my naturally shapeless, frizzy, 80s-mom hairdo. In Las Vegas I’m sleek and straight like Anna Wintour (more or less).
Now, not to get all Stella on you or anything, but summer, I’ve found out, can also be a time to get your groove back, which is of critical importance when you are creeping up on your late 20s and feel like you may have sort of let yourself go a little bit after getting a boyfriend. It’s the modern love story. Girl meets boy, girl wants to get bodied for boy, girl goes on diet hoping collarbone will become more pronounced, girl and boy make it official, boy accepts girl for who she is and also likes Papa John’s and also does not notice girl’s collarbone efforts, girl says “Screw it” and eats the pizza. Two years and two pants sizes later, girl looks down at herself and wonders how her grandma’s butt ended up on her body.
“Calm down, girl, I got you,” says Summer gesturing towards the new Jillian Michaels workout DVD adorning the shelves in Target’s “Sports & Fitness” aisle. Yes, I nod. I will lose 10––okay 5––okay 3––okay, just one toned muscle will be good––just in time for the big trip to Atlantic City with the girls.
I did not lose any weight in time for the big trip to Atlantic City with the girls. But you know what, Summer? I think I got my groove back anyway––and all it took for that to happen was a group of decent-looking gentlemen (term used loosely) buying us a bottle of wine and one of everything off the dessert menu. Clearly, we are not “Can I buy you a drink?” girls. Ain’t nobody got time for that. We are “Can I get you woozy and full of tiramisu?” girls. Why yes. Yes you can.
But Summer, just so you know, we declined the invitation back to their hotel room for massages and banter. We had bigger fish to fry, and we were about to meet several other bachelors of dubious eligibility looking for a good time: three doe-eyed youngsters in the Marines (or was it the Navy?), a likely sex offender named Julian whose lurid embrace we had to dance away from more than once, and then a man whose name I can’t spell or pronounce or remember right now, who we asked for directions to the nearest establishment still serving food at 2:30 AM. This one took a shine to the engaged one of our crew, forcing her to gently break the news of her betrothal.
But probably my favorite of the night, Summer, was the hotel employee who delivered our room service pizza and nachos, which was essentially a plate of thick cheese and therefore all the more necessary. He informed us that we were about an hour early as far as drunk room service orders go, momentarily making us feel old and wornout and ready to watch Matlock––until he added, “I got a couple daughters your age!” with a nervous chuckle. This was obviously less for our benefit than his, a middle-aged man standing in a hotel room of twenty-something-year-old women in their pajamas. Even in my vodka-induced haze, this scene did feel a tad inappropriate, but we were too into the nachos to care.
And I feel like I got a bit off track there for a second, but ah. Oh…. those suh-hum-mer nights. Just give me a moment.
Okay, better. But you know what I’m talking about. Those nights that are wild and free and just a teeny bit reckless. Like eating-your-weight-in-cheese reckless. Buying-a-sailor-a-shot reckless. Telling-men-your-real-age reckless. A kind of reckless you should curl your hair and then pop an Advil for afterwards.
Heck, maybe summer as an adult isn’t so bad after all. Don’t get me wrong. There are some things about summers of my childhood that I miss and will miss my whole life. I still feel a flutter in my heart whenever I hear “Semi-Charmed Life” and am immediately transported to 1997, where I am in my Speedo one-piece bathing suit, lying on my Lisa Frank towel and trying to get my Nano Baby to poop. But there’s something to be said for summers in adulthood, too. Now there’s such a thing as a “getaway” and a bronzy glow that transforms your whole look. Ice cream every day because there’s no one to tell you no. Cold cans of Coors Summer Brew, with any resulting bloat well hidden beneath a comfy shift dress.
Wait a second.
Could it be? Is this what you intended for me to realize all along, dear Summer? That, while our relationship may have waxed and waned over the years, it has ultimately changed in only the best way possible? That summer is so much better when you’re old enough to fully appreciate its charms? That the other seasons rob us of energy and vitality and youthful spirit, but that you, Summer, you give it back?
Oh God. You can’t leave me, Summer. Please. Not yet. Not ever, preferably, but I know how Fall probably gets if you’re not out when it’s his time. He’s overconfident because of pumpkin spice lattes. Well don’t let him bully you. You stand your ground. You STAY. Stay for me. You let him know that not everyone likes pumpkin spice lattes. They are loaded with calories and give you gas. You know what happens if you get a pumpkin spice latte during your lunch break and then proceed to sit at a desk for another 5+ hours? Indigestion happens. And not just any old run-of-the-mill indigestion. It’s intestinal meltdown indigestion. The wrath of the titans indigestion; the kind where your insides gurgle and pop and explode. And you know something else about Fall? Its jackets suck. They are either too warm or not warm enough, and now they’re apparently all going to have leather sleeves because someone decided that robot arms are cool (which they are, but only within the context of a dance-off). Oh, and one more thing. Halloween? Dumb.
So you take all this knowledge I just laid on you, Summer, and you give it to Fall good and proper. You make him self-reflect for a hot minute with an even higher heat index.
And now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go Google Greek yogurt recipes.
Love you forever,