Sunday, May 28, 2006

it's here already?

Weather in Chicago is a constant punchline. It's unpredictability is so regular that there is always a joke to be made about the current season, month, or weather pattern. We get blizzards in April and no snow throughout January. Every year it seems that those two inbetween seasons, Spring and Fall, pass Chicago by. Though I've lived in this area my entire life and should know better, I always get my hopes up that Spring will really come (for longer than a week) and we'll have a gradual warm up to Summer. Every year there are a few days that seem to fit my expectations and then - wham! - it's 45 degrees and rainy. Oh, and there's snow in the forecast for tomorrow. So every year Summer attacks the Windy City with a one-two punch: heat and humidity. They often come together, wearing down thousands of Chicagoans who, even though it's brutal, fight to walk through the heavy, heated air just because "it's nice outside".

Memorial Day traditionally acts as an opening to Spring and our weather is a sign of that. It's hot and humid here (90 degrees), when only last week it was barely pushing 70. The sudden summer is a welcome relief to those cool, unspringlike days we've been having, but it's also hard to get used to all at once. After being out of town for two days, I returned to a hot and sticky apartment where, it soon became clear, we would have to turn on the AC. I then decided to join thousands of other people in the city at the beach.

(This is when I miss my old place. It was SO close to the beach, I took it for granted. I now have to take the bus to get to the lakefront and that is quite unpleasant in the heat and sweatiness.)

I went alone, eager to catch a few hours alone with my iPod and the sun. Admittedly, I am a sun worshipper. There's a reason I was a lifeguard for six years. I love being outside doing absolutely nothing in the sun (something I think I inherited from both of my parents, both of whom are sun worshippers themselves). When I flipped onto my stomach, I was looking out at the lake, not believing that another summer was already here. As much as I complained about the winter, it seems to have been nonexistent now that summer is back. That's the thing about Chicago. We wonder why we live here when it's cold and nasty, but as soon as summer arrives, we forget all about the frozen snot in our noses and gear up for festival season. The beach was packed with other sungods and goddesses like myself, alone and in groups. There were families and teenagers. Frisbee throwers, bike riders, and runners. I caught myself watching two teenage girls furtively smoking cigarettes on the sand. They walked around nervously, circling the same area, and trying to look as cool as possible smoking while simultaneously hoping their parents wouldn't see. I remembered my own summers of being sneaky with my friends because that's what those summers were all about. These days, it seems like summer is jam-packed with weekend plans (weddings, showers, BBQs, short trips, concerts, festivals); there is seldom time to just enjoy.

So that's what I did this afternoon, my first official day of summer. I just enjoyed. I came home and enjoyed a cool shower. I enjoyed sitting in our air conditioned apartment and just talking with my roommates. And I enjoyed a nice al fresco meal with my roommate at a restaurant down the street. We had nowhere to be, no plans to fulfill - the way summer should be.

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