Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Summertime, and the Livin's Easy

Generally speaking, I hate Summer. I dislike bright sun light, and I can't stand the heat. Mild as the summers are here in the Pacific Northwest, I stand to lose a substantial sum of personal mass in sweat alone over the next few months. Not that I can't bear to lose a few pounds, but I just hate to sweat. Unfortunately, I sweat easier than a ham under a heat lamp.

So, my front door faces North, and for just a few weeks, this time every year, the sun peaks around the corner of the porch in the late evening, and casts brilliant shards of light through the beveled glass. The entryway explodes with color and light for just a few minutes, before the sun settles behind the hill. Tonight, of course, was the brightest, and the light show will slowly fade over the next few days until it returns for next year's solstice.

I sat down to write this post around 10:30 p.m. At that point, there was still a glow of light visible in the night sky. This is it. The longest day of the northern hemisphere's year. While technically the first day of summer, the days only get shorter from here. Remember, only 180 days (give or take) until Christmas.

In another lifetime, before the neckties and business suits, before daycare and mortgages, there was pizza. There were many years of delivering pizza, and there are many stories yet to tell from that time. Tonight, though, there is only one pizza story to tell.

It was June 21, sometime in the early 90s. I was paying for school by delivering pizza at night. The hours were late, but the tips were good. Of course, some nights were better for tips than others. While New Years and the 4th of July were blockbusters, Solstice night was historically crappy. The day dragged on forever, and folks lost touch with their digestive rhythms. They would forget to eat. So, it was always a slow night.

The crew was thin, but we worked hard to get the store closed quickly. Still, it was well past midnight by the time we finished. Four of us walked outside, waiting for the manager to set the alarm. The A.M. breeze was afternoon-warm. We shuffled around a bit, feeling not quite done with the night. Proposals were made, and plans were laid. There appeared to be drinking in our future.

We reconvened in my backyard, down by the creek. Cold beer was handed out and a pipe, or two, was passed around. I sat there that night with three other guys, whose names I can't remember. We were friends in a co-worker sort of way, but with whom I had nothing in common. We drank and we smoked and we talked. We watched the stars, and waxed philosophic, in a limited beer-hazed, small-town yokel sort of way...

Now, being situated on the 45th parallel, as we were, not only was the solstice sunset late, but the sunrise was unexpectedly early. I finished off yet another can of PBR (The King of cheap beer!) when a pink glow began to cut through the trees. I had just settled in with a comfortable nocturnal buzz, when all of a sudden I was confronted by dawn.

We all sat stunned. It was only 4:30. We had anticipated, somehow, having several more hours of darkness to cover our pagan rites. Silently, we each took stock of the situation, glancing forlornly at the cooler full of unopened beer. By unspoken assent, we all agreed that though the sun was shining, it was still the middle of the night. The fully-illuminated early morning sky would not prevent us from finishing our task.

Though the morning rolled on, as none of us had gone to sleep, in our minds it was still night. Eventually, the evening came to a close (around brunch), and I went to bed. Of all of the "longest days," I suppose that was technically the longest. So, happy solstice to you, and here's to an easy Summer... Just watch out for those early sunrises.

16 comments:

  1. well, cheer up, dumbass. forcast is for five of the next ten days to be above 90 degrees, the other five in the high eighties. if you've very nice to me, you can come sit it the kids' blow up kiddie pool and i'll have the boys spray you with the hose.

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  2. I'm sure Q would love to spray me with his hose...

    Thanks anyway. We bought M her own pool. Comes with its own waterslide.

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  3. Sorry if I missed something... but wasn't that description of nocturnal to daytime drinking a summary of most of law school?


    And secondly - please, for the love of G-d, Leah - tell your children to keep their hoses to themselves.

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  4. Anonymous11:52 AM

    Sounds like Leah is pimping her kids out for porn. Not that it surprises me.

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  5. What happened to the time we stayed up for 38 hours amped on jolt cola circa 1987? I guess you can't remember any of the the pre-surgery fun.

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  6. Before Brian legally became a woman.

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  7. I try to repress all early memories involving Brian, Tom, or Dave.

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  8. At least memories that involve root beer bottles

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  9. everything's better with butter

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  10. hey! i love my gay son! and i'd appreciate it if bri didn't love him back. ew. also, a crime. and can i point out the bri tried to post some big philosophical ideas and we've brought it down to gay children and butter? just sayin'....the collective mid set here resides in the gutter.

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  11. Oh yes we were all crazy back then with our Jolt Cola consumptions - I hate to break it to ya'all - but we were nerds.....heck still are.

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  12. amanda Lynne Coulter3:36 PM

    I spent the summer solstice watching a PBS documentary about kids with cancer.

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  13. Solstice 1997, Full Moon, Bottom of the Grand Canyon.

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  14. What I've learned from these comments is that if you have butter, root beer bottles and kids with cancer, you can really have yourself a fantastic summer soltice.

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  15. That nerdness gave me a pretty darn good career there, missy.

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Be compelling.

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