Tag Archives: seasons

it’s time for summer to end in baltimore.

i am DONE with the sights, sounds, and particularly the smells of this city in the summer. i dared to take out our recycling this morning only to be assaulted with the pungent odor of something dead…somewhere. (a large rodent, probably.) and you know the heat just makes it worse.

i’m telling you, taking out the trash or recycling in our neighborhood, or maybe it’s just our block, is an act of sheer bravery. first of all, you never know what you’ll encounter in your backyard. a hissing rat. a dead rat. a feral cat ready to mark you as his or her territory. a large weed with berries on it that literally grew overnight. a child’s toy that’s suddenly appeared out of nowhere—a fluorescent My Little Pony, for example (yes: true story)—to freak your shit out before you’ve even had your morning coffee. even though you know a rat dragged it in, it’s still freaky as hell to see toys in your backyard when no children actually play out there. that’s poltergeist shit (and you know how i am with that.)

then you have to touch the garbage or recycling cans. oh that’s a treat! because 4 times out of 10, there’s 1 to 4 rats hiding in them waiting to give you a heart attack. so what you have to do is kick the can or cans before you touch them. and if there’s a rat or rats inside, they run out, then you scream and run back in the house while your partner who’s watching you from the comfort of the indoors tries not to pee her pants while laughing. then you have to resist the urge to punch her in the throat and start all over again.

once you actually get the damn cans and drag them to your gate, you have to open the gate, which, in some ways, is actually worse than kicking the trash cans. because you never know what’s waiting for you on the other side.

the worst is a dead, flattened rat. i probably don’t need to elaborate on the details of that. but mattresses are really bad, too, because it makes you concerned for so many reasons. for example, why are your neighbors throwing out 5 mattresses? how many people are LIVING there? and why are they throwing them out all at once? do they have bedbugs? these are the things you can’t allow yourself to think about when you live here. you will go crazy if you think too hard about your neighborhood and the people in it. it’s best to just let it be. unless there are people on the mattresses. then you run.

the most alarming thing that ever happened to me in our alley was years ago when a…prostitute? approached me and…propositioned me i guess? she was an awfully strange-looking prostitute if she was one. i don’t know. she didn’t make too much sense but at one point she asked if i was married and i said YES! and then i ran inside and told holly. if i ever encounter a zombie in our alley, we are moving immediately.

anyway, everything is roasting in this city right now and it’s disgusting. and everyone is acting like a loon. a man that may or may not know our neighbor carol—i guess she knew him but wouldn’t let him in her house?—spent two days digging the grass out of the sidewalk next to her house (and trust me, there wasn’t that much grass to begin with), then they found him sleeping in her boyfriend’s van? i have no idea. also: a really weird-looking bouquet of roses in an actual vase showed up on the sidewalk in front of the house next door to us and stayed there for days. if a My Little Pony suddenly shows up in front of our house, WE ARE OUT OF HERE. same goes for the guy digging up the grass. anyway, hand me a mug of hot cocoa, i’m ready for fall. the moment i see more than 15 leaves, i’m raking them in a pile and immediately jumping in it. unless the pile is moving. in which case there’s probably a rat at the bottom of it. then i will scream “RAT!” run inside and just look at the leaves from indoors. that works, too.

i went into a panic last night about the polar vortex and now we have too much food in the house.

so yeah, as you probably already guessed, i bought into the media hype about the “polar vortex” and kind of went into a panic last night.

the panic was similar to the widespread terror many of us here in maryland feel when we hear or read that it will snow except no snow was involved, just cold. this panic, of course, gave me an urgent, frenzied feeling that we were out of everything in the house and we needed to go to the supermarket immediately. i usually have this feeling anyway, because i’m jewish and we never feel like we have enough food in the house. it’s like, a genetic thing, so that when we have visitors we will feed them until they say NO MORE PLEASE STOP. this gives us great joy. anyway, i pushed holly out into the cold and off we went to the store.

when we made it there–THANK GOODNESS WE MADE IT, IT WAS SO COLD–before we got out of the car, she turned to me and said, calmly, that we were going to be ok. that there was no need to panic, we would be fine, we were only here to pick up a few things, we didn’t need to go into emergency mode, this wasn’t a hurricane, etc. i only heard her say “panic,” “emergency,” and “hurricane” so i panicked even more.

we get inside and the store’s…empty. it’s almost empty. OH MY GOSH WHY IS IT EMPTY? WHERE IS EVERYONE? clearly everyone else knows it’s extremely dangerous to be out in such cold. we’ve made a grave mistake but it’s too late to go back now. i must think fast. we must act fast. the temperature’s dropping.

lunch meats! we need lunch meats. MILK! TEA! PEARS! OH MY GOSH WE NEED PEARS.

CANNED FOOD! tuna! YES TUNA! and EGGS! OH LORD THE EGGS. we get to the eggs and THE EGGS ARE ALMOST GONE! the masses have already been here, i think. clearly there’s reason to panic, the eggs are gone! the only eggs left are three containers of those weird omega 3 eggs so we settle on a carton of egg whites. this is a valuable source of protein, i think. one that, i figure, we can cook up using a candle somehow, which i will light immediately when the electricity goes off because surely it will because we live in baltimore and nothing works here. AND OH MY GOSH WE’D BETTER CHARGE UP OUR CELLPHONES HONEY HOW MUCH POWER DOES YOUR CELL PHONE HAVE (i grab it from holly’s hands) OH MY GOSH ONLY 58% THAT WILL ONLY LAST US MAYBE HALF THE DAY. then i see mine is only at 20% and nearly faint.

we get to the cashier and we don’t even have to wait in line. it’s that empty. OH. MY GOSH. IT’S THE VORTEX. we need to move fast. YOU BAG, i tell holly, AND I’LL PUT THE FOOD ON THE CONVEYOR BELT.

the bill is $104 and i honestly have no idea what we bought besides milk and tuna and pears. i obviously blacked out while we were shopping. this is bad.

we go out to the car and the wind is howling.

HONEY! i shout over the swirling winds. HONEY! YOU PUT THE BAGS. IN THE CAR. I’LL. TAKE BACK. THE CART!

i want to shout SAVE YOURSELF! but i decide there’s no need to be dramatic.

we get in the car and start driving home and we see water gushing out into the street. WATERMAIN BREAK, i think. i immediately decide to hoard water when we get home, lest our pipes burst. first i’ll fill the brita filter. then all the pots. every one of them. the largest ones first. i’ll fill the crockpot, too. nothing’s off limits. if it can hold water, i will fill it. i made a stir fry earlier in the day and noticed a green pepper can hold water once you empty out the seeds. i suddenly wish i had bought another pepper. i’d fill that, too.

when we got home, i almost expected our block to be engulfed in flames but honestly, everything was fine (save for some drafty bedroom windows, which holly managed to fix).

it’s late and i want to keep things short so i’ll wrap things up:

the wind blew all night but we both managed to sleep. in the morning, we woke up and i found a cheese danish in the pantry. i’d like to say i was in my blacked-out state when i purchased that, but no, i totally remember buying it. i found beans and two cans of tuna, milk, the carton of egg whites, pears, frozen chopped spinach, and a number of other necessities.

what didn’t i find? what were we out of? toilet paper.

it’s almost fall: here’s all the sh*t that needs to end.

fall leaves

oh beautiful crunchy fall leaves! what a friggin concept. can we do the damn thing already? damn!

it’s mid september–hence almost fall, my FAVORITE SEASON–and i’m pissed.

i wait ALL YEAR for this time of year. ALL. YEAR. i start listening to the smiths and early REM in, like, mid july, trying to will the season in. i even occasionally bust out the high tops and boots (much to holly’s chagrin) and you know what? i may look a little ridiculous but i do it for fellow fall lovers. i do it for you. and i do it for me.

usually it works BUT NOT THIS YEAR. this year everything is all wrong. it doesn’t friggin feel like fall is coming AT ALL.

here’s all the sh*t that needs to end right now so we can do the damn thing:

the heat.
it’s so damn hot out. what the hell. BRING ME CRISP AIR NOW. i want. to wear. a damn. sweater. what don’t you understand about that? damn!

the humidity.
don’t even get me started on the humidity. how are we supposed to have any DAMN CRUNCHY LEAVES with this humidity? the answer is we can’t. it’s just not right.

the DOGGONE DAMN ICE CREAM TRUCK.
c’mon! put it to rest, man! take that rusty old salmonella-carrying clunker you call an ice cream truck and hide it. then don’t bring it out til spring. stupid ass.

people being annoying. 
ok this is actually all the time. i just felt like bringing it up now. if you’re annoying. like, if you don’t know how to put your damn blinker on when you drive. or you’re not capable of not taking up an entire grocery store aisle with not only your body but your damn cart, then just stay the hell home or else i will be forced to pull out your weave–and if you’re not wearing one i will tape one to your damn head and pull it off–and smack you in the face with it.

the dog poop.
i seriously think there are packs of wild dogs running around baltimore because i swear every time we take a walk one of us is always pushing the other saying WATCH OUT! coming thiiiiis close to stepping on dog poop in the middle of the damn sidewalk and nearly giving each other a heart attack each time. i am just bringing this up now but it needs to stop throughout the year. summer just makes it feel worse. everything feels worse in the damn summer because it is so damn hot.

the yellers.
the drinking as soon as the damn sun comes up? it needs to stop. all day from my (home) office i hear weirdass drunk motherf*ckers shouting and it’s like, people: you may be able to drink like that in the summer but the season’s coming to a close. let’s give it a rest so i can get some work done dammit. pack it in and shut the hell up.

the weirdos.
i swear the heat brings out every last doggone weirdo in the city. GO INSIDE. be weird in your own damn house and stop freaking us all out! jesus.

the heat. 
the humidity.
oh right i already said these but it’s so damn hot i forgot.

i’ll tell you what else is wrong:
the jewish high holidays came earlier than they have in, like, multiple generations (i don’t know how to count a generation and i’m too lazy to google it right now). the last time they fell this early in september it was 1889 or something. obviously i’m failing already because i made a (jewish) new year’s resolution not to curse so much and in this post alone i said “damn” 13 times, “sh*t” twice, “hell” three times, “ass” twice, “dammit” once, and “motherf*ckers” once.

here’s my list if you don’t believe me:
(i starred out the vowels in case, you know, there’s kids reading.)
(and yes, i’m aware my handwriting is quite bad.)

correction: i actually said “damn” 16 times. i did a search for it. 16. oh that’s nice.

actually i just fooled all of you: do you really think i’d make a new year’s resolution not to curse?! that is crazy! i don’t drink. i don’t smoke. this is my only outlet. if i didn’t do it i’d be wreaking havoc on society and my marriage. plus i know i couldn’t keep it and that would be sacrilegious.

ACTUALLY. actually i just added the photo of the leaves at the top of this post and i wrote “damn” twice in the caption. so that’s 18. i thought about not mentioning it but that would be wrong.

so listen. obviously i’m mad. (i really did make a new year’s resolution not to be so damn mad.) (19, oops!) and obviously this will have zero effect on the universe or the earth’s axis or whatever the hell (ok i’m going to stop counting now) controls the seasons but let’s all join hands–no wait. i’m a germaphobe. i don’t want to touch your hand. let’s just get pumpkins. those are available now, right? yeah let’s get some pumpkins and carve them. toast the friggin seeds. throw some salt on ’em. yeah. they’re so good, right?

turn up your a-c (I KNOW IT’S NOT “GREEN” BUT BEAR WITH ME OK) and throw on a sweater. get your boots on. take out your halloween decorations. hell, break out pilgrim desk decorations if you’ve got em. COOK A THANKSGIVING DINNER.

that’s it! cook turkey. cook a damn turkey in your sweater. let’s all do it at the same damn time. i’d help you but i have to go to michael’s now to make a fall wreath. i used to hate fall wreaths but i’m “adult” now and i love them. holla!

if i wanted it to be this hot, i’d live directly on the equator

i interrupt this blog hiatus (omg wtf’s up w/the blog hiatus? i know. it’s annoying me, too) to say that my car’s already reading 94 friggin degrees and it’s not even 9:15 in the morning!!!! 

yes, baltimore–and every other city w/in driving distance–is trapped in a heat wave right now. and i am not a fan of the heat. and srsly? if i wanted it to be this hot i’d live closer to, or directly on, the equator. i am not kidding. i could do very well in an area that’s consistently 60-70 degrees. (does a place like that even exist? if so, pls tell me where it is.)

yesterday was weird. first of all, it was so hot that the city, well southeast baltimore at least, felt like a ghost town. not everyone around here has air conditioning, so when it’s hot, ppl usually hang out on their stoops or the sidewalk to get some relief. but the sun was beating down with such intensity that even the usual stoop suspects stayed inside. i didn’t even smell one bbq. not even the drunks in the house by the alley were out. total silence save for some sirens here and there. like i said: weird.

then, late afternoon, our power went out. in the almost-four years we’ve lived in our house, our power has never gone out. never. the lights went out. dishwasher stopped. the hum of our air conditioner disappeared. holly and i looked at each other and were like: uh-oh.

turns out the entire block was out. within 10 minutes, the temperature in our house went up two degrees. then i started thinking about all the pricey frozen stuff we had in the freezer. and the two new half-gallons of milk in the fridge. and that our cell phones had weak batteries. and both of our computers weren’t charged up. and all the assignments i had to finish.

wow, we are so dependant on electricity, i thought, suddenly filled with deep thoughts about modern life and its luxuries. this, of course, was followed up with a loud “THIS SUCKS” to holly. so much for deep thinking.

she, of course, concurred.

“the silence is deafening,” she said from the couch.

“i know,” i said. i was about to start humming top 40 hits to fill the dead air, but instead suggested we go out for pizza, since we decided that even cracking our fridge or freezer would put all of our cold and/or frozen food in jeopardy.

we went out and came back and the power was still out, tho the BGE guys were working on it. (major props to those guys.) thankfully our neighbor lori the teacher opened her home to us like she usually does (hi lori! love ya) and we charged an extra cell phone battery and holly’s computer. everyone was out on their stoops and sidewalks by then. and i guess the darkness and boredom drove everyone that had leftover fireworks to light them off almost simultaneously. most of the ghettofabulous fireworks around here sound like machine guns, so between the darkness, silence and bursts of uzi-like explosives i felt like we were in some kind of urban warfare movie.

we broke out the flashlights and then lit all the little tealight candles we have left from our wedding (almost two years ago now! can you believe it??). it could have been a romantic moment if it hadn’t been like 90 degrees in the house.

we went up to the roofdeck and since it was so dark and on the way up, i did a little flashlight signal to jerry the drunk (who was hanging out his second-floor window, like he usually does; tho he did have clothes on this time, seemed like, anyway. note: he doesn’t always have clothes on) as my way of saying hi. he waved. (i gotta say, he really is the nicest neighborhood drunk)

we didn’t last long up there b/c honestly, the fireworks (in such close proximity) combined w/the darkness all around was freaking me out. we went to sleep, to the sound of the guys working, on top of our comforter, and holly woke me up around midnight to tell me the power was back on. i went downstairs to check on the stuff in the fridge (food: always my biggest priority) and everything in the freezer was still frozen solid. whew.

then i got some crushed ice and poured myself a cold glass of iced tea, turned up the ac, went back upstairs, turned on the ceiling fan and turned on the tv. (i would have fired up my 450-degree hair straightener, but, you know, we weren’t going anywhere.) ahhh. creature comforts.  man i love electricity.

so today it’s supposed to be even hotter (104 degrees, msnbc is telling me) b/c of the humidity. and it’s not cooling down anytime soon. do you hate this heat? do you love it? and if you love it, why?!

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change of heart: respect the chair

the other day i griped about all the people saving parking spots in our neighborhood, more specifically the chairs, cones and milkcrates used to save them. what is this, middle school? i thought. on that particular day of griping, the snow was almost gone and i thought  the need to save spaces was obnoxious and unnecessary. now that we have three million feet of snow, i am eating my words. we dug out our spot friday morning and then, yes, broke out a folding chair from the basement and…saved our spot.

it’s one of those tailgate-style chairs. canvas with cupholders on the arms. it sort of…broke, the second time we put it out. it’s a pretty sad sight, our chair. but hell, it’s better than what one of our neighbors put out: a rusty old charcoal barbeque with a sponge-top mop leaning on it. my favorite are the folding chairs. you know, the type your parents–or grandparents–put out for extra people at dinner. for like, the kids table at thanksgiving. a close second are wooden kitchen chairs. patio furniture trails just behind. hell, just this morning i saw four matching wooden chairs in a single spot (?!). with cushions tied on and everything. all that was missing was the dining room table. hard not to laugh when you see something like that. i felt like sitting down in one of them and ordering a coffee.

anyway, the street parking situation in our neighborhood is downright wild west by this point. ppl are parked diagonally, backwards, however they can fit. i’ve never seen anything like it. we’ve been trying to limit the number of times we drive because, despite our truly intimidating broken green canvas tailgating chair, we’re scared of losing our spot.

“if anyone, ANYONE! takes our spot,” holly said, her jeep wheels roaring, as we pulled out of our spot earlier this weekend, “I WILL RAM THEM WITH MY JEEP.”

“yeah babe,” i concurred. “ram them. jerks.”

 i hope it doesn’t get that far. but something tells me she’s not kidding.

 she actually exchanged some words with a guy on friday afternoon when she left to go pick up dinner supplies and then our friends up in federal hill. he was waiting to take our spot.

“don’t even think about it,” she told the guy, getting out of her car. “this is my spot.”

“well, where’ya going?” he said.

“i’m going to the store, and i’ll be right back!”

“well how long you gonna be?”

“it doesn’t matter how long i’m gonna be. this is my spot. you’re not parking here.”

“you’d better get a chair.”

 “oh i’ve got a chair right here.”

 and out came the chair. and the guy did the right thing (the smart thing) and left our spot alone.

 so yes, i’ve had a change of heart. respect the chair. respect the ridiculous amount of time it takes to dig your car out after three feet of snow. our neighbor, lori the teacher, put a tv tray out (she didn’t have anything else) and can you believe someone had the nerve to move it and park in her spot?? this isn’t two inches of snow we’re talking about. or even two feet. it’s dog eat dog out there, ppl. dog eat dog.

holly and i actually changed our gameplan should someone park in our spot. we will get out our shovels and, yup, you guessed it: shovel them in. respect the chair, ppl. respect the chair.

ok, this has gotten a little ridiculous

i admit it: i like a good snow storm. i’m a homebody. i love an excuse to stay at home w/holly, esp. when there’s pretty snowflakes to watch falling outside. but this has gotten ridiculous. 

baltimore is immobilized. our street has not been plowed yet. (i know we’re not alone w/that one.)  i don’t know if i can adequately put into words just how much snow there is for you out of towners. cars cannot move out of their parking spots. people can barely walk on the street. nobody’s going anywhere. we saw an EMT get out of his vehicle and run down the street to help someone b/c he couldn’t drive down it.  (ok, wait. there is a BOBCAT digging out street out now. a BOBCAT. that’s how much snow there is!!! of course it’s covering our cars. see, there’s just no way out of this.) 

holly has been cooking up a storm. i’m telling you, we’re going to be morbidly obese by the time the snow stops and we can dig ourselves out of this. fresh crepes w/wild blueberry sauce. stew. tacos. casseroles. and soon, i cannot wait for this one, her first shot at making homemade pasta. 

people have been getting their cars stuck all over place here. in fact, just last night, holly went out of the house to help these girls get their little VW out of a parking spot. if it wasn’t for this random van showing up, that had, like, 10 guys come of it, all of whom pushed her car out of the spot, this girl would have been stuck all day. i was watching the whole thing from our front window, thinking how decent holly is, the way she’s always going out of her way to help ppl. she was making her way back to our house and then she disappeared for a moment. she reappeared helping janet, one of the friendly neighborhood drunks, walk across the street back to her house. janet had her hand in the crook of holly’s arm.  i shook my head.  janet makes me so sad. i know it’s not the most PC thing to say, but i usually don’t have too much sympathy for addicts, not since i moved here, anyway, since they create such havoc and crime in our neighborhood. but janet, there’s just something so doggone sad about her. she’s so skinny and shaky and you can tell she’s smart underneath it all. she’s just so frail and weeble-wobbly i’m scared when she crosses the street on a sunny day. everytime i see her, i think about pretty much the best addiction memoir i’ve ever read, dry by augusten burroughs. i think about what her day-to-day must be like and usually sigh and make myself think about something else. 

we actually were woken up at around 3am by the same girl trying to get her little car out of the spot the guys had pushed her into. it sounded like she was gonna blow her motor up. holly opened the window and shouted down to ask where she needed to go. not to be rude, just b/c we felt concerned there might be an emergency. why else would someone wake the entire neighborhood, risk blowing up their car and then put their life in danger by actually driving (in a little car w/out four-wheel drive)  in this type of weather? she said she needed to go to the hospital b/c her grandmother had died. i know. so sad. the hospital turned out to be pretty far away. holly suggested that she call a taxi service with four-wheel drive. she said she tried but couldn’t get one and even if she could it was really expensive. “your grandmother probably wouldn’t want you driving in this type of weather,” holly shouted down. “it’s really dangerous.” the girl agreed and went back inside. 

anyway, i guess what i’m getting at with these random stories is that it’s nice to see the community coming together a little. i’ll tell you the truth, i don’t know who even lives in most of the houses on our block. all the sudden we’re talking to them and helping them and watching them help each other. i could have skipped the random drunk neighbor that stumbled out of his house the other day, looked at holly and i (trying to make our way across our bulky street) with pervy eyes, and yelled that “y’all look real cute walkin together like that! reeeeal cute. i’ma come back and talk to you. stay there.” yeah, we totally hid behind some boulders and talked to our neighbor lori the teacher (hi lori!) until he went away. 

as for our late neighbor‘s house, we’re worried his roof’s going to cave in from all the snow. the cops told us he had safety citations on it. hell, we’re worried about our own roof, too, and we gave that a good overhaul before we even moved in. we’re more worried about our our decks, one of which is on our roof (tho the weight of it rests on party walls). holly’s been shoveling the snow off the one connected to our house, off the guest bedroom. i stay inside and wave at her and take photos. 

speaking of photos, i’m including some. i don’t normally post a whole lot of personal photos but the past few days have just been so unbelievable that i feel i need to. i’ll try to post them in chronological order. (apologies to my facebook buddies for some repeats. stay with me, there’s some new ones towards the end.) 

from our roofdeck. back when things felt prettier. so quiet in this town. for once!

chimneys peeking out from the snow.

this looks very south pole-like, but it's actually our late neighbor's roof over his vacant house.

gorgeous! you wanna move here now, right? hah. yeah, after my stories i'm betting a big fat no.

our unplowed street.

is that a tunnel or a sidewalk? srsly. crazy.

holly's very first try making crepes. that's wild blueberry sauce she made, too, with ricotta from a local italian place. omg yum.

holly resting after shoveling our second-floor deck. this is before storm #2.

holly helping janet across the street just as the second storm was starting. that's janet on the left.

holly shoveling the deck today.

hi, honey! how's the weather out there? no i think i'll just stay inside and take pictures of you. thanks for shoveling, babe! love you!

a bobcat finally arrives to start shoveling out our street! oh but wait! mister, you're...you're trapping our cars.

 have i told you before about the peeping tom freakazoid across the street? i probably have. sometimes we just see his nose sticking out of his freakazoid curtained second-floor window looking into our house. sometimes he pops out his entire head. he’s a hermit or shut-in or something. we have rarely seen him out. he’s almost like…just a head w/out a body. but b/c of the weather we’ve actually seen him come out twice in the same week. i kind of want to stare at him while he’s out there to make him uncomfortable but i’m too scared that he’s a sharp shooting gun collector psychopath. so instead i took a picture of his window as we see it above our door. can’t see us so well now, can ya buddy?!! BOOYAH.

he usually sticks his head out of the window on the left. and yes, those are hearts. we decorated for valentine's day this year. it's a baltimore thing. don't be a hater. (plus you know you love it.)

well, folks, i think i’ve posted enough photos for a blogging lifetime. i need to get back to this book proposal. nothing like being snowed in to light a fire under your ass. i began work on this proposal almost a year ago to the day and i think i’ve finally got it. mapping out your life’s story is quite an endeavor. but i’m almost there.

 if you live around here, tell me how you’re doing in all this snow! stay warm! xo!

is it weird that i find the sound of all the noisy daytime summer bugs incredibly relaxing?

cicadas

how can something so scary-looking sound so awesome??

anyone else with me? or am i just crazy? (ok don’t answer that one)

it’s cicadas, i think. and heaven help me if i ever come face to face with one (oh and i have. if you were in the maryland-dc area a few years ago, you, too, experienced the 18-year cicada phenomenon. yeah, they bury eggs or something and then they hatch 18 years later and basically take over your life once you step outside. *freaky*!) i’m not such a fan of bugs (who is? if you are i’d like to hear from you and hear your rationale tho i bet it something w/the friggin ecosystem or something and you’re probably right) but hot damn! there is nothing on earth like walking outside of an air-conditioning building or stepping outside of your house or car and just hearing that whoosh of sound combined with summer heat and sun…it’s like slipping into a warm bath. 

it wasn’t until a couple years ago that i finally figured out why i love it so much: it’s august. that giant cicada sound to me means august. and august for me growing up in northern new jersey was returning from summer sleepaway camp (i only went for the first session, only three and a half weeks but it could have been a year, it felt so long) feeling like a champion that i had braved it on my own for “so long” and with the names, phone numbers and addresses of a gazillion new friends not to mention a golden tan and a new appreciation for everything i had left at home. before that it was day camp (also only the first session), always kind of tedious tho fun. and always a great sense of relief that it was over so i could be at home.

august was the pool with my mom (a teacher; i was lucky enough to have her home every summer), homemade cut-off jean shorts and errands together on our little mainstreet and visits with my dear grandma, the three of us going to friendly’s and then just grandma and i, sitting on her third-floor cement balcony surrounded by little pots of red geraniums, her smoking her unfiltered pall malls (and putting them out about a minute later, telling me never to smoke the whole time) and me, listening to the cacophony of bugs, watching the planes fly by high above, thinking about the new school year about to start (promising myself that i’d start my homework earlier after school, which i probably only did for the first month, if that) and dreaming about what it’d be like to be grown up one day.

i guess, stepping back a little bit, the sound of the cicadas just takes me back to a simpler time. one where i was surrounded by all love, all the time (i was a lucky kid), shielded by my parents and grandma from the crueler, less comfortable parts of life (namely, adulthood)…a world where my biggest worries were homework and friends and then, eventually, studying for my bat mitzvah. when sweat was something that meant i was outside playing, something that dried off in due time, not something that ruined my dress shirt after a quick lunchbreak outside in the heat.

i think, also, it’s just…summer. and even if many of us are stuck in sterile, air-conditioned offices the majority of the day, those moments when we can slip out for a few minutes during the day, or just walking in or walking out for the day, the rush of cicadas–with their soft-to-loud and then loud-to-soft clamour–reminds us that outside four walls is nature and summer and heat and, yes, bugs. they were there when we were kids, and they’ll be there always, waiting for us, sounding exactly the same year after year. i have also determined that, b/c i am one of those freakazoids who doesn’t actually go ga-ga over summer (i go ga-ga over fall), their sound also means that fall is not far. oh fall. fall fall fall, how i absolutely love and live for fall.

so really, that’s just about it. and if you’re new to my blog, no, i don’t always blog about wildlife (kittens yesterday, bugs today). i’ve just been meaning to tell you all how much i love the sound of cicadas. very un-rocknroll of me, i know. but i love puppies, too. and deer. and pretty much anything cute and furry. so don’t even get me started…