Now is the Summer of My Discontent

Jun 23rd, 2014 | By | Category: Columns

Here in the Washington DC area we had a fairly harsh winter: bone-chilling temperatures, harsh winds, and a couple feet of snow. Folks started to get cabin fever and began wishing for warmer weather to return. They wanted to lounge by some body of water, followed by a cookout with family and friends and ending the night lying in the grass looking up at the stars as the fireflies flutter around just out of reach.

Summer is essentially here, they finally got their wish, and I hate them for it.

Summer, from my understanding, is that time of year where we’re supposed to go outside and be active. Winter, for obvious reasons, doesn’t lend itself well to a leisurely stroll through the park, and spring is too finicky (is it cold? Is it hot? Enough with the identity crisis), but summer, summer is special.

Again, I’d like to reiterate that this was said by those who don’t know any better. With the warmer weather comes the appeal of wanting to dine outside, or “al-fresco” if you’re of the hoity-toity crowd. Barbequing, while prevalent in the rest of the world and going as far back as to when man first discovered fire, is a time honored American tradition. Don’t get me wrong, there are few things on this planet better than an ice-cold lemonade and freshly grilled slab of beef, but that desire to want to eat it surrounded by nature is just silly. First off, has anyone ever eaten outside where flies weren’t swarming over everything from your meal to the slice of lemon in your water? Second, while we may be dining on glorious tubed and pattied meats, we ourselves are an all-you-can-eat buffet for malaria carrying pests. “Why, yes, I would like a side of West Nile to go with my bratwurst, thank you!”

If you can overlook the insect kingdom crawling all over everything, there comes the actual food that’s served. Now, if the host(s) are responsible from everything from the burgers to the potato salad, all well, but the economy is rough. I can’t be the only one who cringes on BBQ Evites that announce that the BBQ is a pot-luck. Fantastic! If everyone was a right-thinking individual and adhered to the traditional cookout type foods, this wouldn’t be an issue, but thanks to this health craze that’s lasted way longer than it should’ve, people experiment with health conscious recipes that substitute a staple item, say, potato chips, with zucchini chips. “But they taste the same!”, sure, if by “same” you mean “tastes like the bile that crept into the back of my throat upon catching a whif” then, yea, absolutely.

However, even BBQs pale in comparison to the go-to, end all be all event of the summer season: the dreaded beach trip. Someone gets the silly idea of filling up a cooler with soda pop and sandwiches, buying cheap, foldable plastic chairs, and deciding which perfectly good bath towels you’re okay with ruining. However, a beach trip wasn’t just your idea for the long weekend, it was everybody’s. As such, you’re now stuck in traffic for hours as you slowly creep to the coast. Once you’ve finally arrived, that feeling of rage you were nurturing in traffic has the opportunity to become fully realized as those same folks who were clogging the road ways are now standing between you and the ocean. So, in an effort to beat families with small children and drunken college kids to the prim spots, you and your “crew” are running barefoot over what’s essentially a convection oven, stumbling about as your cooler bursts open, eating up valuable minutes.

But the ocean will make it all better right? Going for a dip, the cool currents getting sand out of those awkward locations for you, sounds divine–that is until you realize everyone is practically confined to the same 20-35 yards of space and you’re doing your damndest to not drown every kid who splashes you because the little shits find it funny. Oh, and by the way, the ocean, isn’t just some body of water for humanity’s pleasure, it’s where things live. Think of all the disgusting things you do in your daily life, now multiply that by the trillions of creatures living in the ocean; it’s salty for a reason folks. Enjoy swimming in a global fish toilet/morgue.

Oh, and have a great summer. Yeah.

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