Waste Not…

This post was originally written for a Summer Blog Party that fell through due to illness.  I hate to waste it… so here ya go!

I used to think of summer as vacation, pure and simple.  The school year would end and three glorious months of unstructured time stretched out before me.  We lived in San Diego, so I spent a lot of time playing in the water and building sand castles. Summer meant the smell of coconut suntan lotion, and meals made up of Bugles (we’d put them on our fingers like Fu Manchu nails and then eat them off one by one), Lemon Cooler cookies, buckets of extra crispy Kentucky Fried Chicken (I refuse to call it ‘KFC’) and Shasta Tiki Punch soda.

As I grew older and realized how good a golden tan looked against white camisoles, I spent more time sunbathing. My parents built a pool in the backyard, so I’d spend hours adrift on a raft in the middle of the pool, dozing, reading romances, and daydreaming while soaking up those rays.  This was before sunbathing was declared a bad thing, of course.

When I started working, summer lost some of its glow. Mind you, I loved my first summer job at the San Diego Zoo (Food Stand Two, directly across from the shit-slinging monkeys) and the magic of volunteering as a dresser at the Old Globe Theater’s summer Shakespeare Festival in Balboa Park.  But the sense of free-floating time to follow whatever whims would hit … that was gone.

After I graduated high school (college and I had a brief fling, but it didn’t work out), summer lost all meaning beyond “Boy, it’s hot outside!”  No more gloriously aimless days thinking the world was my succulent oyster.  The future still held unlimited possibilities (as it always does when you’re under forty or so), but I missed the sense of freedom that always came with summer break.

Now?  Summer is a time of fog and cool weather in San Francisco.  I’ve gone from a perpetually golden-skinned sun worshipper to a pale Goth of my former self.  I go down to San Diego a couple times a year and enjoy the sensation of surfing in board shorts and rash guard instead of a heavy-duty wetsuit, but I’ve lost all sense of the magic of summertime.  I haven’t, however, lost all sense of a world of possibilities. If anything, passing the forty-year marker made me realize that even as you lay one dream — whether fulfilled, partially fulfilled, or unfilled — to rest, there’s always a new one to take its place. And maybe in the years to come summer will once again be a time of sun and leisure.  If not, I can still conjure the memories.  Now if I can just accept the fact I’ll never look that good in a bikini again in this lifetime…

7 thoughts on “Waste Not…

  1. Bet you still look pretty good even so!
    Yes summer has changed for all of us over a certain age–when the body starts reminding us we’re not even thirty any more. Still no one can say what the future will (or won’t) hold. Despite the pessimists there is always tomorrow. And we Will be there to see it. LOL.

  2. mmm, bugles.

    i tend to get nostalgic about summer being a 3 month vacation too… and about having a hot body once upon a time. 🙂

    “I haven’t, however, lost all sense of a world of possibilities.”
    i like this – tis a good reminder for me.

  3. You’re still hot, Baby Girl! And I can’t help but notice that even the arctic winter of San Francisco’s summers can’t keep you from wading into the ocean on your beachcombing expeditions…

  4. Here here, Jack! I tells ya, when the Zombie Apoc comes along, I want you at m side!

    Adele, weeding? You must be a gardener!

    Sheina, I’m glad to remind you of what we still have ahead of us! Which is any damn thing we want, with the possibility of NOT a hot bikini body. 🙂

    Awwww…Dave, you know just what to say. And I’m so happy you’re going wading with me!

  5. We’ll be there with bells—and weapons ready. Between the four of us (you, Dave, Susan and myself) we ought to wipe the floor with ’em!

  6. Summer means the illusion of three months off, with the belated realisation that I have lots and lots of work to do that I can’t do during the academic year. HA HA HA. So then I leave the country for a month — some of which is work! — and come back even less interested in working. Argh.

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