Monday, June 21, 2010

"It's time to turn!"

This post checked in at a minute before midnight on the 21st—the last drop of the longest day of the year. Now three days have spun by, not really shorter, unless by seconds. But that's the ironic situation of summer—starts full to the brim and then spends the rest of its term leaking time.

Or giving time away, really. Siphoning seconds ("Who wants seconds?"), then minutes, of day to night. Summer is night's friend, and night returns the favor in long dusks and night trees rustling with confidential breezes.

During the day, summer is like the Sugar Daddy we used to buy at Shippan Beach, a candy v.i.p., long and caramel-colored, hell on teeth, but a long laster, and inevitably you get sand on it.

Summer is "There's nothing to do" because there's too much potential but not enough edge. It's the open sea, the perfect wave, the tyrannosaurus rex who really just wants to be friends. It's Jayne Mansfield on an ocean liner or Annette Funicello in a canoe. It's every great idea you've ever had that you've seen melt away like a Sugar Daddy left on the dashboard.

Summer is Tan Turnover Time on radio station KELP in El Paso, Texas, c. 1965: "It's time to turn!" just before "Woolly Bully" comes on at Number 6: "Uno! Dos! One, two, tres, quatro..." and ten teenagers obediently turn so they don't get burned...

And it's having to go to bed at 7:00, c. 1954, when it's still SO light out and the outside sounds sort of melt together as you look at the gauzy white curtain in the room and everything goes milky.

Summer is the ultimate scratch pad, is what it is, or maybe one of those magic slates that you draw on with a stylus that leaves a broken line and then you lift the plastic sheet and the tree and the monkey unstick and disappear into oblivion.

It's the dreamiest. It's the ginchiest.
It's the rackatoon (thunder) and the seventh inning stretch.
It's what joins spring to fall: it's sprawl.

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