In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “In the Summertime.” Last winter was nightmarishly long, having lingered well beyond my ability even so much as to attempt to put up with it. My spring wasn’t even somewhat active. So far my summer hasn’t been the least bit eventful either.
I’ve been truly enjoying it all though. Each day I try to walk at least a mile in order to get my requisite exercise. During the cold months that’s an absolute nightmare for me. This past Memorial Day I marched with my Knights of Columbus council in Long Beach’s annual parade. I could never handle that kind of thing during a Thanksgiving parade.
The rain, fog and snow, along with the early sunset and bitter cold, drive me nuts. Road conditions are unbearable. Warm weather makes the little things in life such a pleasure. I go to the beach and enjoy the perfect breeze. Plants are in full bloom. There are cerain minor drawbacks to warmth though. For the past nineteen years I’ve always driven Saturns. My 1992 SC, during its heyday, was absolutely perfect. Over the course of its last few years however, there was a lot of trouble with, among other things, its thermostat. I froze during the cold seasons and roasted during the summer. My current 2001 Saturn, that belonged to my father, now deceased, is still in good shape, so fortunately that’s not a problem. A major advantage for me during the warm seasons is being able to take a nice relaxing drive to wherever I may want to go. As long as my thermostat works I’m plum thrilled.
My nephew Michael and his girlfriend Erin got engaged a few weeks ago at the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden in Astoria, Queens. It was an outdoor affair. In May, the kin and I went to Brookly Botanic Garden in Park Slope. That was also outside. Because the weather, each day, was warm I had the absolute time of my life. Cold weather, alas, would have made that impossible.
Even under the circumstances where there are no significant milestones to count on, spring and summer have always been perfect for me, much more relaxing than cold weather. The clothes, food and all sorts of other things are thoroughly to my liking.
Christmas has always been quite enjoyable for me. Not counting the bitter cold weather and dark dreary skies, I’ve always really enjoyed it. When I was a kid, I obviously related to it much differently than I have as an adult but I still really enjoy it all. It brings back such exceptionally nice memories. Having to shop at such a crowded hectic time gets me crazy and I could do without the Christmas carols and sales starting in October but it’s a good time for me. One thing that nauseates me is the incessant insatiable left-wing determination to knock Christianity down. We’re expected to pretend it’s the holiday season when in reality it’s entirely about Christmas and that’s most certainly nothing to apologize for. Nobody expects proponents of Black History Month to apologize for being too black, or condemns the Puerto Rican Day Parade for being overly Puerto Rican. When was the last time you heard of the Jews’ being expected to apologize for their Judaism? This morning I went to get my daily coffee at the Coffee Nut Cafe on Park Avenue and one of the ladies behind the counter made a Christmas tree design on it. I was quite saddened to see that she felt somehow compelled to apologize for not having bothered to ask, first, if I celebrated Christmas. There’s something awfully nightmarishly wrong with a leftist cultural climate, in which someone has to expect to get into trouble for such a nice thing. Not counting all the aggravation that naturally ensues from the inevitable aches and pains connected with Christmas inconveniences and responsibilities, my infatuation with the good and important parts is the same as it ever was.
If I were ever to form an anti-bucket list, it would have to include quite a few things that really bother me. Everyone knows that I’ve never liked left turns. Those blind spots are enough to drive anyone nuts. How, of course, could I possibly leave out odd numbers? Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always known that there’s something missing, or incomplete, about an odd number. It represents, in my worldview, an inexcusable void. In the world of entertainment, there wouldn’t be any of today’s current shows on. I can’t stand disco, rap or any of several other styles of pop music. The Jacksons, at least one of whom is already dead anyway, are a perfect example of how horrible pop culture is capable of becoming. Cold weather and inordinate precipitation would also be forever banned if I could have my way. There would be no unnecessary noise. Any world in which I get to run the show would be a world of peace and quiet, making every allowance for all the unavoidably necessary sounds that come with everyday life. Cell phones would be required to be silent. Liberalism, without a doubt, would be entirely eradicated irrevocably. That most insidious of worldviews deliberately pits people against each other for purposes of control.
Having lived in New York and northeastern Pennsylvania throughout all my lifetime, I’m most certainly quite used, by now, to insane amounts of snow. I’ve also seen lots of it in western New York, including their recent storm, their worst ever. Fortunately, however, I’ve never once been subjected to an avalanche. Were I ever to have to face such a calamity, without hope of being rescued until the next day, I should be forced to think of how relieved I should inevitably be to get out alive. Anxiety often overtakes me so I should have to attempt not to focus on all the first hand circumstances. Perhaps that would be precisely the perfect time during which to indulge my lifelong habit of wallowing in the past. Besides the obvious thoughts of the immediate future, during which I should be able to dwell upon the security of a nice warm environment, I could also think of winters of yore, when even the worst of snowstorms inevitably found me inside someplace, safely awaiting the spring. During the average storm previous to this disaster, I could always expect to be subjected to nothing scarier than shoveling and driving. I wonder if, under those circumstances, I may please be permitted to have in my possession a significant supply of hot coffee, a large cup, and creamer to show for all my troubles. If that were possible, much of my battle could already be won anyway. I could veritably rejoice in the peace and quiet, temporarily isolated from all the disgusting cell phones and pop cultural nightmares. How pleasant it all would be not, at least temporarily, to have to be forcibly reminded, of all the truly atrocious things that are going on these days. That’s having been said, the only truly insurmountable nightmare would be the temperature and other weather problems.
I’ve always enjoyed exceptionally warm weather and dreaded the several months of the year when it’s cold. Autumn is, to a certain extent, quite an exceptionally nice experience for me though. At first, when all the leaves start changing colors and orange and black seem to be everywhere, it’s such a fine feeling. I have many decades’ worth of nice memories of Halloween, especially when I was a kid, and Thanksgiving, most significantly when I used always to spend it with cousins in western New York. I remember during my very young days, as far back as Jackson Heights, the weather on Halloween was usually so bitter cold that I was forced to explain to people that somewhere under my fifty layers of heavy clothes was a costume, and that I really was dressed as either the Green Hornet or some other then-current character. Thanksgiving in North Tonawanda, during the 1980’s, was also frequently bitter cold. November can often be exceptionally rainy. Once the full brunt of autumn settles in, though, it then becomes quite a seriously nasty depressing time for me. The miserable weather and dark gloomy atmosphere have always struck me as exceptionally frustrating, and are also quite an intense metaphor, for me, of the dark side of life. My mother died during the last week of September and my father died during the first week of November so that adds yet another dark property to the fall. When I was a kid autumn brought with it the beginning of the school year, that was always welcome, but as an adult I can count on no such milestone to keep things interesting. Walt Whitman’s poem, “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking,” from “Leaves Of Grass”, specifically references the ninth month as a symbol of birth. September, the ninth month, is when fall begins. For me it represents all the good and bad that life has to give. Change has never been easy for me. The positive and negative aspects of fall perfectly reflect the good and bad things in life.
When I was still only a youngster, still obligated to go to school, I’d always so thoroughly enjoyed it. Although, of course, it meant having to put a stop to all the uninterrupted enjoyment of summer, going back to school in September was always quite an interesting experience. The only time I truly let it bother me a little was at the beginning of the seventh grade, when, having moved from Jackson Heights to Lindenhurst, I was forced to spend two weeks in Copiague Junior High School, after which I went to O.L.P.H. in Lindenhurst for the rest of my time in grammar school. That was only because they were both new to me. Now that I’m an adult man, my feelings toward the end of the summer each year ultimately amount to mere passive resignation. Imo’ve always been quite smitten with symbolism and autumn and winter always abound with it. The last few months of each year always bring with them cold weather and dark gloomy skies. For a while autumn is quite nice. I’ve always quite enjoyed Labor Day, Halloween and Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was especially nice when I was in the habit of visiting my cousins in North Tonawanda. Eventually, though, the last few months of the year turn into a seemingly endless succession of mandatory concessions to all sorts of inevitable trouble. My mother died last September and my father died last November so from now on those times will also have quite a particularly sad twist to them.
If ever I could count on the unquestioning service of a perfectly obedient robot that could be available at all times to relieve me of only one nightmarishly awful chore, I should very much like to have one that would shovel snow for me. When it comes to difficulty all other chores very much seem to pale by comparison. This is made especially true by the fact that it’s always outside in miserable weather. Bad weather in general has always bothered me. Snow and ice get me crazy. I’ve never been known for an abundance of physical strength and shoveling is one of the things that require quite an exceptional degree of endurance. By definition a robot doesn’t have to deal with frustration and exhaustion. All it needs is either a plug, battery or some other power source. Unlike me it will never complain about hypothermia or boredom. I should only need it for part of the year anyway, although winter, when it gets here, seems so unbearably long.
Over the course of my lifetime I’ve managed to come up with several somewhat unorthodox means of solving problems. Everyone knows by now of my absolutely bitter merciless insatiable hatred of cold weather and all the trouble it inevitably provokes. I’ve gotten into the habit of putting a cover over my car windows to avoid excess ice on them and I make sure that when I get a lot of ice on the car, to the point that it freezes the doors shut, I put boiling water on them in order to open them. That’s quite a really bad idea for the windows though because there’s entirely too much of a risk of their breaking. When I have too many articles of clothing or other things to have to put away in a very small room I use portable suitcases as extra drawers. It only requires a little bit of changing things around in order to make space that would otherwise be unavailable. I have several suitcases in which there are compartments I can use for storing toiletries and all kinds of other things. Life is filled with all sorts of surprisingly convenient hidden ways to beat its much nastier setbacks. Those are only two examples of the ones I’ve used.
Unfortunately I didn’t respond to the prompt that asked what day 211 would be like. My parents both died last autumn so I’ve been subjected to quite a few very significant changes this year. It’s turned out to be quite a nice uneventful year for me though in most respects. I’ve been having quite a nice time getting used to life in Long Beach. Nothing has gone especially wrong for me. I’ve always had a hard time adjusting to change anyway. I’ve been meeting new people here and figuring out how to find my way around. The people at St. Mary of the Isle and the nearby Coffee Nut Cafe have been getting used to having me around by now. It gets me quite crazy but I’ve been able to handle it. Sometimes I go to the beach or at least walk toward its general direction. I make sure I go to Mass most days during the week. I can’t stand cold weather here but I can’t stand cold weather in general anyway. Now that it’s warm and sunny out I’ve truly been having the time of my life. My feet hurt quite a lot though so I have one very minor complaint that seems not to have any kind of a solution.
The last time I went to the beach specifically in order to spend the day swimming was, believe it or not, on Groundhog Day. Mary Anne, Steve, Mark, some friends of theirs and I went there for a Polar Bear Club fund raiser. If we were ever to go there around this time of the year, on a bright sunny day, eating watermelon and having a leisurely enjoyable time, and suddenly from out of nowhere, hail were to start falling onto us, it most certainly wouldn’t be even the least bit difficult to find something else to do. Of course there’s a pretty good chance we wouldn’t stay on the beach so maybe we could go to someplace like either the Coffee Nut Cafe or Gentle Brew in order to get something really nice to eat or to drink. Those are both exceptionally good coffee shops on Park Avenue in Long Beach. We could even do what we did after our jaunt on Groundhog Day. We could very easily come back to the house and have a few drinks or coffee, or both, right here. It would be difficult to get there but at least we could stay indoors and have something enjoyable to do until the storm abated. Since the beach is only around a half mile walk from here it’s never the least bit difficult, although there would be quite a few other disgruntled people to have to deal with under such a harrowing set of circumstances. The only thing that would make it unbearably aggravating, would be that, since the beach is so close to here, we would most probably have walked there. That would mean that we’d have to walk away in such unbearably miserable weather. Even in a car, we’d be forced to drive so unbearably slowly in order to avoid any trouble. For people who have to travel an even reasonably significant distance to the beach, of course, things wouldn’t work out the least bit well. Of course that’s all assuming it’s only a moderate hailstorm. If it gets very bad, we’ll have to hide under the boardwalk.