Somewhere around 11 AM this past Friday I pedaled over to Avalon Pier as part of my lazy late-morning coffee-and-surf-check, only to find my erstwhile sleepy beach-town beach packed to the gills with technicolor umbrellas and out-of-state fun-seekers, and thick with the smell of suntan lotion. It was like somebody threw the “summer” switch and BANG! the alarm went off, rousting us all from our off-season slumbers. Wake up, folks; its SUMMATIME!!
Children were shrieking, seagulls were squawking, skimboards were skimming, bikinis were baring, flesh was frying…
It was too much to fight, so I gave in. I pulled off my shirt, threw it into my bike-basket, and rode up the beach singing the old Porgy and Bess tune. Emails and such could wait until the euphoria passed.
I don’t know what it is, but I’ve got a really good feeling about this summer. I know that’s what I say to myself every summer, but this one’s going to be a good one, I can tell.
Now, in truth, I have no reason to be so irrationally optimistic. We are already on our second named storm, and it’s not even June yet. The mosquitos have already reached mutant proportions, thanks to an uncannily warm winter and acres of standing water left over from Hurricane Irene. I’ve already had two near-death experiences at the hands of Extreme Pennsylvania Drivers on the bypass…and my bank account continues to suffer from a chronic case of manic depression…
But I refuse to give in to such dire omens. Nay, this summer I pledge to pursue a full-fledged flip-flopped, bare-backed, crotch-rotten, hang-fivin’, bon-fired, bikini-chasing, beach-cruiser-cruising, salt-cheeked, toe-headed, honeysuckle-wind season with reckless abandon–because you never know; next year one of those drivers on the bypass might take me out for good. Or one of those storms might wipe this place off the map. Or those mutant mosquitoes might infect us all with some nasty pandemic blown over on the hurricane winds…so while the sun shines and the water is still fresh and clear, it is incumbent upon us to dive in, catch a few fun ones, and kick back with a few good friends. Summertime is the one time when all that psychobabble live-for-the-moment shit cannot be ignored. For reals, yo; you gotta taste the nectar while the flower is in bloom.
So here’s to the first sunburn of the year, the first stubbed toe, the first bite from a black fly, the first flat spell, the first pair of flip-flops lost at a bonfire…bring it on, y’all, bring it on. Bring on the blue crab and the sweet corn, the watermelon and the Weber grill, the fireflies and the back-porch jam sessions. Bring on the little bitty waves and the big ole longboards. Bring on the salt and the sand and the sun and the the sweat and the sweet sweet smell of suntan lotion. ‘Cause it’s on, my friends; it’s on.
Here’s to wishing all of you a long, hot, hell-raising, heart-thumping summer. Lord knows each and every one of us deserves it. And even if some of us don’t, it won’t hurt nobody to let us enjoy it anyway.