My only months-old phone died instantly when I clicked on a link to an E! News story about the breakup between Kourtney Kardashian and that drunken guy who fathered her children.
On a happier note, I have now come to fully believe in both God and karma.
The summer, once just a hazy figment in my intended imagination, has become something real and the days and the events have begun sliding into one another in a way that feels almost like magic.
I went to a burger place that was noisier than any school cafeteria has ever been and ate a salad and then almost a platter of tatter tots by myself while two guys – one in a Red Sox tee and one in a Yankee shirt – sat across from us and ordered beer and wings and watched a baseball game. They hardly said a word to one another and I wondered if the rivalry was really that intense or if some people just don’t have all that much to say when there are wings involved. For a second I though it would be very funny to inquire as to who they were each rooting for, but the second passed and it wasn’t funny anymore and besides, I was very busy fashioning a blanket out of paper napkins because the place was also the most freezing cold restaurant I’ve ever stepped foot inside.
I returned to a monthly movie trivia competition with a friend and we were determined to win this time around after losing by a single point at our inaugural try. I was hopped up on a bunch of cold medicine and felt a little bit foggy, but that’s not the reason we lost so spectacularly. There was a category of anagrams, just a mess of letters we were meant to unscramble to form the name of an actor or an actress, and it destroyed us. First of all, that’s not trivia; that’s a skill I just don’t have. Second of all, I had a moment of antihistamine-fueled positivity that one of the names definitely unscrambled into Dweezil Zappa. Third of all, I was very wrong and the anagram was actually of Denzel Washington. Fourth of all, here’s a message for the trivia host: OG*CUFK*LFYORUES.
I got my hair straightened and smelled like chemicals for two consecutive days. I think I saw my dog shake her head at what my vanity had done to the scent of our home. A few days later, some sexy scruff rubbed off an entire layer of the skin on my chin, and that new layer proved to be very pale and so I set out on a quest for the perfect bronzer. I tried Bobbi Brown Aruba and Smashbox Baked Starburst before I realized that there really is no such thing as the perfect bronzer and instead just lifted my face towards the blazing sun.
I forgot what day it was faster than I have in any summer that has ever come before. I felt the differences between what it means to be Tuesday and what it means to be Friday slipping away from me like I’d just blown hard on a dandelion and forgotten to make a wish first.
I texted the following sentence to my best friend during a date: holy fucking cuteness. I laughed when her response back was to try to keep all of my clothing on in his presence.
For the first time, I saw both The Boondocks and American Dad. I giggled almost uncontrollably during both. I started watching Ray Donovan but I'm really behind on the promise I made to a friend that I’d watch all of Sons of Anarchy. I really hate breaking promises, but there have been Real Housewives to watch and besides, maybe it’s just too ambitious to make a promise to watch something like five full seasons of a show I wasn’t automatically drawn to while it was airing. I think I'll go ahead and terminate that promise and instead admit defeat and hand over several members of my family who own some impressive real estate as payment and consider the deal closed.
I have managed to carve out time to watch Big Brother, and I can say this with some certainty: I have seen the signs of the End of Days and it looks like a person in sweatpants and a knit beanie hat talking directly into a camera in something we’ve all agreed to call The Diary Room. One of the guys in the house sounds exactly like Bobcat Goldthwaite. He can only either scream or whisper and he legitimately seems to lack an indoor voice. Another contestant woke up half the house at four in the morning to make sure they were all loyal her and I fully expected someone to kill her by sunrise Lord of the Flies style, but it's a nonviolent and non-racist group this year because apparently CBS has finally figured out how to properly vet people who are recorded around the clock. I listened quizzically as a player who has a penis said, “I don't trust nobody in here that has a damn penis,” and sure, I'd feel free to move forward and start hating everybody on that show, but I'm really too busy experiencing high levels of self-loathing while the show is on and I’m watching it – three times a week.
I splashed around in my parents’ pool and I talked to my stepfather about the debt crisis in Greece. As the day grew hotter, we both agreed that lawyers make the worst politicians, that my mother is the nation's finest cook, and I might have convinced him to get a fire pit for the back patio. I was less successful convincing him to build a small moat, but I'm not giving up yet and I won't until a crocodile named Bethenny becomes our newest family pet.
I got my carpets cleaned, my toenails polished in a shade of pink that defies comprehension (it's not a pale pink and there's no rose in there and I guess that maybe it’s closest to the color of the bubble gum ice cream from Baskin and Robbins) and I bought new sneakers that I hate as much as I hate my old sneakers. They do not look natural on my feet and I know that they never will, but I put them on anyway. Hills that challenged me last summer no long cause me to even slightly pant this summer.
I've decided to see that as an important metaphor.
I drank sangria while sitting on patios and I ate pizza while leaning against a building in the moonlight. I sipped black coffee in bed.
Above line aside, I haven't listened to a single song by Squeeze, because it's no longer the same summer it was when I was sixteen.
I spoke for a long time the other day with someone I loved when I was sixteen. We talked about movies and about life and about how we both miss the same beach and about how quickly time goes by. We had similar conversations when we were sixteen; that's why he's the one I loved then. That's why he's still my friend today.
I read The Girl on the Train and a book about a girl who used to claim to be in love with Hugh Hefner before she turned into a woman who now either knows better or wanted to capitalize on what’s brought her name recognition. When she hit #1 on The New York Times bestseller list, I stopped questioning her exact motives and instead officially included a "sleep with an aged millionaire" on my own subsequent to-do list.
I have also considered that maybe I should just start writing fiction.
I revealed to someone my fear of things that fly that are not supposed to fly and that I believe the terror stems from my first movie theatre experience with Pete's Dragon and he laughed and told me that the dragon in that movie is adorable, not scary, and that his name was Elliot and I Googled the title of the movie later on and I felt a genuine cold grip of fear just before the images came up and then when I saw a green and pink dragon who all but has dimples similar to my own, I realized it might be time to reevaluate my psyche.
I had cravings for donuts and ice cream and mango and yodels. I gave in to the yodel craving and I know for sure now that there's true goodness in this world. To compensate for my rediscovered love of all things Drake and Hostess, I have an appointment with my mother this week to learn how to make gazpacho with no calories from the blonde master. The woman is a dynamo and it's time I started paying more attention.
I sent my niece and nephew letters to their sleepaway camp and shoved candy necklaces inside that I hope will not be crushed and then appear as a sugary form of anthrax. I made sure the necklaces did not originate from the same factory as one where any nut has once resided.
I've been awake later than the dawn and slept clear through one early evening. I had that sore throat thing that has cut through this area like wildfire. I drank water and green tea with honey and I tried to remember what it used to feel like before someone apparently took a vegetable peeler to my throat. I recalled how nice it was when I wasn’t aware of every swallow. Even a yodel hurt going down, but I ate it anyway because I think it's very important to face the challenges life throws your way.
I've gotten tanner and my hair keeps getting lighter. I'm not sure how I feel about this yet. I strongly suspect that I don't really care one way or the other. I'm pretty sure I care about things way more during the autumn and the winter. I think that maybe I’m just more reflective after the sun goes down behind the trees.
I ate in a Greek restaurant I haven't been to since I was little. I used to go there with my father. We'd walk in, him reaching his whole hand down and me reaching my entire arm up to grab onto his pinky finger, and we'd sit at a high table, which is on my top 10 list of Things I Love, along with stuff like seeing an Old English Sheepdog and Sunday nights when I don't have to go to work on Monday. Yodels have shimmied their creamy way onto that list. A friend or two were knocked off the list in that process, but priorities do shift in life and I think we all should just accept things like adults. At the restaurant, I didn't have the experience I sometimes have when I visit a place I used to go in that sometimes I think that I can almost see a wisp of a former vision of myself when I look up quickly. I would have liked to have the moment; I wish I knew why it only happens sometimes, but it’s probably so I remain sane.
I sat in a child's car seat on the way to dinner with friends, found myself agreeing to the idea of going hiking at night, and I still sometimes hear the pop and the sizzle of leftover fireworks shooting off in the distance after the sun goes down. I'll bet some of you hear them too and it's a mini reminder that we're all living underneath the same darkening sky and I guess there's some poetic comfort in such a thing.
I embraced the lack of a traditional structure in my days and received a recipe for brussel sprouts that actually made me like brussel sprouts. I thought I had a lot in common with a guy, but even having that hunch didn't make being able to say, "My father had polio too!" any less odd.
Hearing the important news that Brandi Glanville is leaving the Beverly Hills Housewives brought me more of an unadulterated joy than hearing that Ennio Morricone is coming out of retirement to score Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. I think it might almost be time for me to sit in a dark closet and watch Sergio Leone movies on a loop before someone shows up at my door and insists that I hand over my degree. I figure, though, that I can do the closet thing on a rainy day in late August.
I saw two dead birds on a lawn, one dead deer that broke my heart, and an entire family of geese cross a highway as passengers came to a dramatic standstill. It might be the finest example of collective humanity I’ve witnessed with my own eyes in a long while.
I felt myself grow more alive under the gray of a sky where there were no stars and I heard myself murmur that I hope summer never ends.