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Desperately seeking summer

Summertime … (sing it with me now) and the living is easy.

It may be easy, but it’s been chilly, too. Don’t remind me that we live in paradise. Paradise has fallen short so far. It has yet to hold up its end of the bargain. My towels aren’t drying and the evenings are cold.

I sense people are backing away from me, waiting for the lightning to strike me right down for my blasphemy. Well, let it strike. It might dry up my soggy backyard. It’s a cinch the sun isn’t going to manage it.

It appears I am having a nasty case of the 27-year itch. At first I thought it might just be sand in my swimsuit. Try as I might, I am having a great deal of trouble calling up the memories of the dreadful summers of my past in other locales. I know New York was ickily humid, El Cajon hot and isolated, and the two summers I spent in Palm Springs were akin to the gates of hell. Yet now, as the fog rolls in, I still chafe. I really must concentrate and conjure up my past misery, or my hubris may wreak terrible results.

I know I disliked a lot of things about my out-of-SoCal summers, but I loved those dry towels. I loved having no mold in the bathroom and being able to buy green bananas, knowing they would ripen within hours. I loved leaving windows open all night long and sleeping with no covers. My idea of paradise needs some serious heat.

It’s the end of June and San Diego has, at best, been pleasant. That’s like kissing the proverbial sister. I’m weary to the bone of that funereal marine layer. Just as the house is getting comfy, the breeze suddenly hits the chill button. I have been trying vainly to sit around, sipping lemonade and living the outdoor, lazy, summer evening, barbecue life which paradise promises. It loses a lot when your food gets cold the minute it leaves the grill, everyone is huddled inside sweatshirts and you are shivering like an earthquake victim.

As a card-carrying resident of Southern California, I demand my due. I am owed shirtsleeves after dark and bright, hot mornings. I deal with crowded freeways, crowded stores, crowded theme parks, crowded beaches and crowded supermarkets. In return, I want to see every sunset, minus the gray filter. I want perfection.

If I don’t get it, and soon, I am going to become the anti-chamber of commerce. I figure I will start my own “You don’t really want to live here” campaign, pointing out the numerous and dewy flaws in our Garden of Eden. Moldy bread, limp hairdos, thighs still white as rice pudding. Folks will start heading east in hordes, right?

Well, maybe not the humid east, with its giant mosquitoes. Can’t head west unless you’re a heck of a sailor. North just gets colder and south requires a second language. I see a pattern developing here. Apparently, paradise includes damp towels.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who is wearing sandals anyway. Contact her at

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