Thursday, August 27, 2009

Waiting for the fall as summer's last days begin

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Editorial Page

Here we are at the end of August already. The incredibly hot and humid weather we've been having lately even managed to break the most die-hard of summer lovers out there, with people actually so fed up with the uncomfortable temperatures that they've been openly calling on fall to arrive as soon as possible.

It's kosher to love summer, including the warm temperatures. However, I remain one of those freaks who isn't a fan. I find myself stuck inside with the air conditioning on full blast so that I can function. Memories of a certain apartment I had long ago are still burned into my head -- the apartment that got so warm in the summer months that candles literally softened. When it's so warm in your place that you can leave indents in candles with your finger, it's a bit too much to handle!

I would lie on my bed at night, bare as the day I was born, with a fan turned on so high that the paint started to peel off the walls. I couldn't sleep with the window open because I was on the ground level and people entering the building would walk right by my window. All I needed was for them to see me in my birthday suit. I would have surely been abducted and sold into sex slavery -- my sheer beauty too much to resist.

Hey, give me a break. It was warm and I was hallucinating.

Summer in that apartment is the reason why I will never live anywhere again without air conditioning. You know those elderly people in seniors' homes who sit outside in the middle of July while wearing a sweater and with a blanket over their lap? The chances are pretty good that I won't be one of those.

No, I'd be brought outside by some poor soon-to-be traumatized attendant and toothlessly scream, "Strip me naked, sonny, and dump me out of my wheelchair into that kiddie pool full of ice cubes!" No, I most certainly won't be needing any of those sweaters and blankets like the rest of them. If you ever want to find me when I'm old, just follow the screams of "Oh my God, Old Man Cormier is sunbathing in the nude again! Don't look! Run children! Run like the wind!"

Hopefully the now-traumatized attendant doesn't forget to spread the sunscreen in between my wrinkles and sags.

Yes, summer is coming to an end. We'll still be having warm days for another month -- even very warm days when it will feel like we should all be on vacation again. But I knew summer was over this week when I saw someone walking down the street distributing the Sears Wish Book! I knew it came out at this time of the year, but it still surprises me.

I didn't think anyone paid much attention to Christmas just yet, but someone told me their young son found the Wish Book and has already torn through it, choosing toys for every Yuletide between now and when he goes off to college. Others have admitted that they've started their shopping. Relatives have already asked me what I want for gifts.

Christmas is like a truck barrelling at us at the speed of light. No use pretending it isn't coming. Oh sure, it's warm out there now, but you just wait. This week, I just saw my first full display of Christmas decorations and gift items at a pharmacy.

It's back-to-school time, too. A couple of weeks from now, students will be back wearing spiffy clothes, including impossible-to-walk-in stiff new jeans, not to mention half-limping around with new shoes. On another back-to-school note, I like the idea that stores now have supplies lists available for the various schools around town. What a great idea -- not only practical, but good marketing, too! When I was a kid, if you lost your list you were pretty much doomed unless you could get someone to haul out their big feather, a bottle of ink and a piece of bark to write you out another one.

I remember my first lunch box, too. It was a blue plaid pattern. Eventually, it ended up being the container we used to store crayons and other writing instruments at home, but for a few years it held my daily lunch, including a thermos full of milk with a glass liner that would occasionally break if you banged or dropped your lunch box. Oh the horror of discovering your thermos was broken! Quite the tragedy! Many tears were shed over those oh-so-fragile glass liners. Thankfully, they've pretty much gone the way of the dodo bird (not that I have anything against dodo birds, but you get the drift).

The first day of school was such a range of emotions: finding out who your teacher was; the shock of hearing your best friend's name called out by another teacher, meaning that he or she was not in your class this year; and there was always a new kid who'd moved to town during the summer. I always felt bad for them . . . especially after I made fun of them and made them cry for being lonely for their old friends back at their previous school. (Oh, I'm just kidding!)

One thing I do like about summer now, however, is the fact that not everything is a rerun on television. I remember a time not that long ago that there was literally nothing new on the air (except for the news) between June and early September, when the fall season started. Now, summer reality shows such as Big Brother, Hell's Kitchen and a bunch of dance and talent shows can help entertain us on those hot, sultry summer evenings that are getting shorter and shorter every day.

For now, however, I think I'll sit back and enjoy what's left of summer, including the long days and the lush greenery that's getting ready to turn colours for another year. Those are things you just can't order from the Wish Book.

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