This past weekend, New York did that cruel thing it likes to do in March where it gives us two days of spring and then decides to take it away from us for another two months. It’s a bitter tease of what awaits us after months of enduring cold weather, enlarged bellies, and unhealthy hermit behavior. It also reminded me of how much happier I am when it’s summer and you can spend your days outside walking around the city. I love summer. I basically depend on it for my happiness. I depend on it to make up for the months of me being moody and feeling like shit and never wanting to leave my apartment. And you know what? It never lets me down. Not once.
Interestingly, the most depressing time of my life occurred in the summer. The heat seemed to magnify everything that was falling apart. My brain and body both felt like they were melting into the ground. Sometimes, to make things better and to reduce the ache I was constantly feeling, I would stick my feet out the bedroom window and let the balmy breeze wash over them. And then I would hear the people outside and know that they were out living happy productive lives while I was inside, slowly disappearing. As hard as it was, I think the summer is ultimately the thing that kept me together. Being able to wear shorts and tank tops and see my friends for barbecues and drink on rooftops made me temporarily forget everything else that was terrible. I felt like a stranger to myself but the summer felt familiar and reminded me that I was still here and that life was still happening. It was just waiting for me when I was ready to join it again.
I often feel like people’s lives are stagnant during the winter, they’re put on pause until the sun comes out and then everything can really start to happen. You make up for lost time in the span of three months and then before you know it, you’ve crammed a year’s worth of activity into a single season. I like it when life moves fast like this. I like it when the days are filled to the brim with activity and you feel the energy moving with you rather than against you.
I like to do a lot of things alone and in the winter that can feel strange and a little too isolating. In the summer, however, you can go to parks by yourself and read a book, you can walk for ninety blocks in a single afternoon while listening to your iPod. One of my absolute favorite things to do is to go to Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park by myself with some magazines and music and just lay there for hours. Maybe buy a lemonade and a sandwich from Le Pain Quotidien and people watch. There’s nothing quite like it. Pure contentment. You will leave with a clear mind and a minor sunburn. I promise you it’s truly the best.
One of my favorite memories ever of living in New York is when I took a cab from 67th and Central Park West and took it back down to my apartment in the East Village. I had spent the entire day baking under the sun, which put me in a borderline catatonic state. As the cab whizzed down, I felt like a stoned jellyfish, half-asleep with the sun trying to break open my eyelids. My legs felt tan, my skin felt warm, and by the time I hit 14th street, I realized that I was so, so happy and so, so tired, and so, so summer-y.
It needs to be summer already so our lives can resume their natural happy rhythm and we can lick popsicles while wafting down the street with our loved ones. It needs to be summer so we can have sand and salt water in our hair and make out with cute boys at dusk and not give a fuck that we’re sweating in unmentionable places. If it’s summer, I don’t need anything else. The weather can be my boyfriend, my job, my family, and confidant. I am content. I am full on summer’s magical powers and still begging for another sip.