Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Are You There, Summer? It's Me, Miss Manhattan.

TECHNICALLY, summer begins June 21.

TECHNICALLY, a 90+ degree day should mean it's here already.

TECHNICALLY, New York Magazine's summer issue came out two weeks ago.

People have whatever opinions they like about when the season of long days that turn into simmering nights actually begins, but here's what I know:

I know that on Sunday, GD and I got stuck in a torrential downpour and it was one of the greatest moments of my week. Coming back from our friend's birthday in Alphabet City, there was a spitting sensation of rain in the air. It was annoying, but it was easy to deal with. Like if you were forced to stand one inch inside of a sprinkler's radius. Not the worst thing in the world but, ugh, come on. The universe saw how annoyed we were and decided to stop the sprinkle, replacing it instead with what can only be described as a torrential downpour. GD yelped and scurried for cover. I did for a bit, too, then I realized my sandals were falling off my feet and were about to break. I had to slow down and I realized--what was so bad about about this rain? And then I realized, "Just love it, baby! There's nothing we can do." So GD and I trotted up the street, attitudes instantly changed. I took out my camera and got some rain girl shots of us. The night before, at GD's birthday, someone shared what they wished they knew when they were 25--you'll never be as cute as you are right now. Vanity aside, there's something to it and all of those cliches: you'll never be as young as you are today; some people walk in the rain, others just get wet; life is not about avoiding the puddles but learning to dance in the rain. If anything, this moment in the rain was valuable for letting me see cliches in action.

After days of 90-or-so degree heat, heat that makes your skin sticky even indoors, that I'm not entirely unconvinced is responsible for melting the ice cream in our freezer, the downpour actually felt nice. After just two blocks, from Avenue B to A and A to 1st, we were utterly drenched. I had been meaning to wash my hair the next day anyway, and clothes are just clothes, you know? Lightning crackled the sky straight down 14th Street. We seemed to be the only people without umbrellas. I even remember leaving the apartment earlier in the evening, looking at the sky, opaque with grayish blue clouds. Nah, it won't rain. And if it does? I'll get wet. So I did.

Occasionally stepping in puddles I hoped would not give us Athlete's Foot, the rain started to feel more comfortable in that moment than an instant cease-water would have. Like running through a Slip-N-Slide or going to a water park as a child. This was New York's answer to those things, maybe? Because when there's no amusement park around you simply have to amuse yourself.

Why all the summer talk, then? Because in my mind, after this night, the season must be here. Summer, I think, is that season more than any other when people talk about their wild, misspent youth; long, lazy days free of responsibility and full of misbehavior. We leave our umbrellas home, we forget to wear sunblock, we get a little too tipsy at the beach. I mean, it's not like you can go out in February and just leave your coat at home, you know? It's almost like if it happens in the summertime it doesn't count. We have a summer fling--maybe not only with others but with ourselves, testing the limits of our personal boundaries just because it's hot outside.

So, New York, I'm living like it's summer now, whether or not the real summer is two weeks or so away. Give me your sticky nights that make my skin dewy, your rooftop parties, your french air conditioner kisses and your margaritas on the rocks. I'm ready.