Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Battle with Summer

My windows are big. When they are open, they are wide open. It's like removing a wall from my room and opening it to the world. It's finally cool enough to have them open during the day, after over a week of mid-nineties in a country without air conditioning anywhere. I can't open them at night until after I've turned off all the lights or I end up with an infestation that leaves thousands of dead gnats on my windowsill in the morning. When I stick my head out the window today, I can see the scorched earth crying out for rain. I can see the darkening clouds overhead, taunting us with the possibility of relief. And I am so angry with them, with the relentlessness of summer. I'm generally a pretty positive person about the world. What could be bad about sunshine? Ignoring the fact that I am actually allergic to being hot, summer is just too demanding for me.

I grew up in a vacation village. Summer always meant more people, longer shop hours, ice cream, and swimming. It meant whole days at the beach, just a short walk from home. As I got older, summer meant more tips, more money, and more time to spend it. From age seventeen on, summer always meant a new job. It was some temporary change that might lead me down another path in life, whether it be as a camp counselor or lock smith's assistant. But this summer, for the first time, I am doing the same job I've been doing all year. I suppose this consistency is part of growing up, but it feels like stagnation. I can't counter the itch to get up and go. In this country, they refer to the whole season as "the holidays" and flee to their cottages. I don't have that luxury. I took this past week off from work just because I wanted some sort of relaxation between now and Christmas. Everyone demanded, "What are you going to do? Where are you going? You can't just stay at home!" But I can't afford to go anywhere, beyond a few evenings in Prague. And I did have a wonderful vacation, swimming in the Vltava and relaxing in the park. But I will be made to feel like I wasted my time, just staying at home. The expectations! Why is this season full of so many expectations?! And everyone wants you to go out, have fun, be with your friends. No one talks about the fact that everyone is making less money and thus this going out thing is becoming pretty difficult. Suddenly you've got time to see your friends, but no money to do anything with them.

And so, the constant cheerfulness that gets me through the winter, through everything, it's been beaten down. For once, I give in to the negativity. I hate summer! I hate being hot! But once I make it through, I will have been here a year. I now know the way that seasons pass here, what to expect every month. So when my brain stops sizzling, I will be able to focus on what lies ahead. The fall brings among other things: my birthday, burčak, fall seasonal vegetables, pies, Halloween, another orphan Thanksgiving, the queer film festival, leaves changing, and hazelnuts everywhere. All of this is quickly followed by the magical two months of Christmas we seem to have.

So for now, I will drink my vastly overpriced seasonal drinks. I will swim in the Vltava and make liberal use of my water guns. I will ignore everyone else's demands, and keep the hope of 70 degree days in mind.

1 comment:

  1. In my time in Europe, I've determined that they need to put screens in their windows. Fair enough if the old buildings don't have them, but why on earth are they building new homes without screens?! Bugs carry disease ;__;

    Also, I find it so interesting that you are allergic to heat while your sister is so sensitive to cold. Crazy genetics.
    I hope it cools off for you :)