August 31, 2004

Summer Slacks

My brain needs a summer makeover! It’s 86 degrees outside yet I’m still wearing corduroy slacks and a turtleneck down to the coffee shop. Why do I so cling to the winter? Like a nut frozen in the snow, slowly thawing in the light of the creeping summer. Only summer has already crept and the nut is burnt.

Nonetheless, I refuse to feel the warmth. My friends, the trees stripped bare, their skeletal limbs shivering in the frozen wind, now dance adorned with gaudy emerald leaves and flamboyant birds merrily chirping in the sun. Children in sandals and shorts wield water guns and the weapons of summer (so long as you’re not in Iraq. Children carry more significant pistols there).

Summer means exposing your skin, taking off your hat, kicking back with a Dos Equis and falling asleep in a beach chair on a sweltering afternoon. I don’t find any of that pleasing. Summer makes me sticky in hard to reach places.

While suffering the summer sun on a park bench in Parma, I couldn’t help but notice a swarthy gang of Italian men playing soccer. They sweated in the sun, their hairy pectorals glistening beneath their natural fur vests. They screamed joyously, “Goaaalll!!” and my study-abroad hormones moaned as the game ended. The players began toweling themselves off.

One youth took a seat near me on the grass and began making eyes in my direction. He was a meaty lad. Dark eyes, cappuccino colored skin, tussled hair. He made eyes at me and I couldn’t help but make eyes back.

“Gaydar activated. We have a positive reading, Captain.”

Holy Moses, I was being cruised by an Italian soccer player! I told myself to play it cool. How exactly do I go from being sweaty and annoyed on a summer afternoon to making hot love with a swarthy Italian?


Well, we made eyes for several minutes until the young man sidled over next to me. He only spoke Italian and I English. Our linguistic abilities foiled, I turned to my drawing pad and attempted to converse as a caveman: drawing.

Oh, the drawings I drew! Simplistic in their design and meaning. We were determined to make out. Thinking back on the tryst, I can’t believe I was ever so spontaneous. Nowadays, I reconsider everything to great length: from dating to ordering take-out. Who was this summer bunny making out with a complete stranger in a public park in Italy, after having never said a single word to him? only having drawn two mustached mouths and spittle drops.

Oh, how summer once drew me into her golden grasp! It’s awfully bright outside. Perhaps I will peel off the turtleneck and put on my sandals. I’ll tip toe to the corner store for a Mountain Dew. Perhaps I should check the terror alert and make certain we’re safe today. Are we ever safe from gun-toting Iraqi children?

Perhaps I’ll order sushi and request Mountain Dew along with. Perhaps I’ll order Italian… Come this winter I’ll sit in my apartment and lament the cold and snow. I’ll imagine sitting on a park bench French kissing an Italian stranger on a hot summer’s day.

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