Photographed by Ingalls Photo.
Summer is coming. I know. It's hard to imagine that being a bad thing at a time when the temperature can barely assert itself past 70 and the trees are that perfect shade of new-leaf green. But, it is. And, when it does, it will be hot. Steamy. Sticky. Hot. Day-drinking in the park and night-drinking on the roof will still be in full swing when I'll sneak off to my air-conditioned room to wade through the shallow end of Netflix, dreaming of wool, corduroy, and soup. So much soup.
Yes, I know anyone who's ever waited on a subway platform in August or slept in an un-air-conditioned room during a heat wave has been seized by fall fever, but my annual pining sets in before the summer has properly solsticed. I can't remember a time when this wasn't the case. Growing up, other kids seemed to innately understand that July held the most freedom and December offered the highest net gain, but I was all about September.
Back-to-school season was glorious. I'd start early, practicing my handwriting — bubble print or slanted script? — in July and dog-earing September issues by the pool in August. Each year, I'd tell Oprah in the waning afternoon over my second Dorito-laced sandwich, it's gonna be me.
But, it never was. My new clothes grew old. My practiced letters turned messy. And, by late October, I was dreaming, again of warm nights and free days. But, then they'd come, and the cycle would repeat. After college, I was forced to confront June, July, and August for what they were: hot. And, if I haven't made this clear, I really don't like being hot.
I don't remember when or where or how it started, but I became infatuated with a foggy city on a hill, a city I'd never been to but where I heard it was never too hot and never too cold. Where it was always spring and it was always fall, and it was never, ever summer — least of all when it actually, technically, was.
I moved to San Francisco with a light sweater and $5,000. I had no job. No apartment. No friends. I arrived in May, just in time to have no summer. I learned phrases like "earthquake weather" and "spare the air" and "super burrito." I found a job. I found an apartment. I made an enemy: the fog. I was prepared for some mist, a chilly haze, but this, this was a malevolent force. It sat out over the Pacific from late May to early September, every day, until it descended over the city, blotting out the blue sky with a few broad strokes. It ensured summer was never too hot and winter was never too cold, creating a disorienting time warp. I started to miss the seasons — and, perhaps, no season more than summer.
When I moved back to New York — because you know I did — it was spring. I was in a good mood. As warm days became hot, I welcomed them. The heat and humidity felt novel and intoxicating, like summer should. On one particularly hot July night, I stepped out into the Brooklyn street and started walking, block after block, until I was back home again. Outside my apartment, the night was alive. People, above me and below, were talking and laughing and smoking under a sky still streaked by the sun. And, then I went inside. Because, really, ugh. No.