Tag Archives: summer

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.

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!

this is what happened when i met jennifer weiner, part 2

the fourth and final installment of the “what i did this summer” series.
[part 1 (shot guns/cooked a fish) is here. part 2 (flirted with siri) is over here. part 3 (took a 30-minute flight without xanax, made a scene) is over there.]

you may recall my post a few months ago in which i met my literary idol, new york times bestselling author jennifer weiner, and promptly turned into a blubbering idiot, scaring her by saying things like, “i think i’m going to faint.” and the very unique “i’m a writer, too.”

it was my mom who wound up rescuing me from myself, miraculously and stealthily popping up behind my shoulder, announcing in a way that only a jewish mother can that i really was a writer, making me look far less crazy and perhaps only emotionally deranged.

when i found out that jen would be stopping by the philadelphia public library on tour for her fab new book the next best thing, i called my mom immediately on her new iphone (that she bought at best buy for $49; please oh please don’t ask her about her iphone–more on that later) and told her we needed to go. a longtime jennifer weiner fan, she immediately agreed.

we got to the library and there was already a line to get into the auditorium. once the doors were unlocked and everyone filed in, it soon became absolutely packed. despite the crowd, i knew with great certainty that i was still jen’s #1 SuperFan.

what i’m saying is: if she had a fanclub, i’d be president and i’d make holly treasurer and we’d hold bake sales. i’d make holly bake everything, of course. and we’d name the baked goods after her books, like Good in Bed Brownies and Fly Away Home Flan (ok wait: flan’s probably not good for a bake sale.)

my mom and i found seats towards the front right, and after this funny library guy gave an introduction, jen walked out and the crowd went wild. well, as wild as a library crowd can get.

she started speaking and five minutes later, i see my mom covertly open her purse and unearth a small mass of chocolate chips. and they’re wrapped in plastic wrap. she “secretly” unwraps them, then begins sneaking them out a couple at a time.

she’s trying to be quiet, but it’s no use. she’s the kid in synagogue trying to wrestle a hard candy out of a crinkly wrapper in the middle of the torah service. (if you’ve ever been to synagogue you know this isn’t a good thing.)

mom,” i whispered.

“do you want some?” she whispered back. (and by “whispered” i mean not whisper. jewish mothers are not renowned for whispering. it’s like an evolutionary mechanism to protect their children from wild animals and cold weather.)

“they’re ghirardelli,” she said, pushing them in my direction. like the fact that they’re a name brand was going to make me want to snack on chocolate chips during a jennifer weiner event.

“no thanks, mom.”

then she informed me she had “cheese wedges,” in her purse, too, which i could only surmise meant laughing cow cheese wedges, which are actually meant to spread on crackers at home or at the office, or even at a picnic, not enjoy on their own in the philadelphia public library’s auditorium during a jennifer weiner event.

“mom, what? cheese wedges?” i whispered, my eyes wide.

“well, it’s protein,” she non-whispered back . “and carbohydrates.”

“oh i am so blogging about this,” i told her.

“do you want one?” she asked, trying not to laugh.

“no, mom, i don’t want any cheese wedges!” i said, trying not to crack up while simultaneously trying to remember what she was saying, since i knew i’d be writing it down.

then she offered me chocolate chips again, which i declined–again.

after jen’s talk, (which was hysterical–you can listen to it here) all us superfans ran out and got in line for her to sign our books. i guess the problem with sitting in front at an author event is that you’re pretty much dead last in line for the signing.

i really didn’t mind, as i feel a special kind of kinship with other jennifer weiner superfans (JWSFs). i quickly befriended my fellow line waiters, thrilled to discuss my fave JW books without holding back. we also animatedly discussed jen’s foxy new look, which featured glamorous extensions and fabulous shoes.

my mom joined the line, also thrilled to be part of the JWSF excitement. i don’t know how it came up, but one of my new JWSF friends started talking about coupons and wouldn’t you know, my mom has an app for that. on her new iphone. that she got for $49 at best buy.

“i have the greatest coupon app!” my mom told my new friends. (this from the woman who never figured out how to use a VCR–and yet she’s mastered the world of apps. i know, i don’t get it either.)

“i got my iphone for $49 at best buy,” she continued.

mom,” i implored, gently touching her shoulder. but it was too late. the levy broke. the i-got-my-iphone-for-$49-at-best-buy-yes-i-really-did-no-i’m-not-kidding speech had begun.

“…you see? it’s a real iphone. yeah i really did get it for $49. i can’t believe it either.”

“i think you’re calling someone,” one of my new friends, i think her name was emily, politely informed her.

“what? i am? how can you tell?”

“look, the call counter’s on,” i said, pointing to the screen. “it’s ruth.”

in her coupon app excitement, she had accidentally called her friend ruth. i love ruth.

she held the phone up to her ear.

hello? HELLO? ruth? hello?”

when it comes to cell phones, jewish mothers have no volume regulator. it’s only loud or LOUDER. it’s like they think whomever they’re talking to is connected to their cell phone by a piece of string and if they don’t speak loud enough the other person will not hear them.

“i think she hung up,” she told us.

then my mom did what any sensible jewish mom would do after accidentally calling her friend ruth while waiting in a jennifer weiner booksigning line at the philadelphia public library: she called her back.

“ruth? HELLO, RUTH? hi, it’s susan! IT’S SUSAN. right, i called. by accident. uh-huh, i’m at the jennifer weiner event right now with jessie. oh it’s so fun! yeah. ok i can’t talk. but i’ll…what? what? i think we’re…hello? right i’ll call you, i’ll call you back. ok, talk to you later.”

“that was ruth,” she said.

“i know,” i said.

i think everyone in line knew it was ruth.

the line was moving at a decent pace. before i knew it, it was our turn.

jen greeted us warmly, and i mentioned that i was the crazed SuperFan that blogged about meeting her months earlier.

“and this is my mom. again,” i said, smiling, proud of my effervescent champ of a professor mom that, if i invite her, will come with me to any and all jennifer weiner events in the philadelphia area, come hell, high water, or chocolate chips. she will get there three hours early with me to sit in the front row (like she did last time), and she will stand in a book signing line with me for who knows how long, make friends with other JWSFs, and educate them on handy, money-saving apps.

jen laughed and said it was nice to see us again and yes, of course she remembered my blog post. (how could she not? if you had a psycho fan write a 1,000-word blog post about how she met you for two minutes, you’d remember it, too.)

then she asked me why i was so nervous about meeting her the last time.

i blubbered something about…oh hell. i actually don’t remember what i said because i’m probably repressing it as it most likely sounded mentally incompetent or at least slightly demented. however i do remember saying something about madonna. (i have the unique ability to insert the topic of madonna into any conversation.) 

jen announced that i needed a beach towel. before i knew it, i was holding a huge JW towel.

then she mentioned something about thinking about her when i was hot and steamy just out of the shower and then i really forgot everything i planned to say.

in my JWSF stupor, someone handed me a JW tote bag. then, tote and towel in hand,  i waved goodbye to jen and my new JWSF friends–just another 30-something emotionally deranged superfan with her sensible mom.

i put my JW beach towel in my new JW tote and stepped into my dad’s waiting highlander, amped up from the delicious combination of literary celebrity, community, and free fan merchandise.

suddenly i felt my blood-sugar dropping.

“mom, do you have any of those chocolate chips left?”

of course she did. and man was i glad they were a name brand.

as the chocolate chips melted in my mouth, i held my new JW tote close and thought about all the fun things my mom and i have done over the years: playing hooky when i was a kid to hit the MET and the hard rock cafe on a school day (YES REALLY!); getting miraculously bumped up about a hundred rows closer to barry manilow when he played madison square garden a few years ago (yes i took my mom to a barry manilow concert; it’s called love, people–and besides, he still has a voice like buttah and moves very well for a man his age); countless mall outings, coffee shop chitchats, and trips to buy me bare escentuals make-up and warm winter coats (jewish parents live to buy their children warm winter coats).

i suddenly kind of wanted a cheese wedge, too.

“i love you, mom. thanks for coming with me,” i said.

“i love you, too, honey. i had a great time. i knew you’d eventually want some chocolate chips. that’s why i brought them. here’s a cheese wedge. the chocolate’s not enough. you need protein, too.”

aw, mom.

——–

this concludes the what i did this summer series. it was a busy summer full of mystery and intrigue: grilled cheeses. guns. flirting with female robots. a 30-minute flight to pittsburgh without xanax. literary celebrities. moms. chocolate chips. free totes.

special thanks to jennifer weiner for once again being a good sport with her more…excitable fans. and the towel. and the tote, which i proudly tote around, proclaiming my superfan-ness.

an additional special thanks to jen’s fab assistant meghan, who not only remembered me, but didn’t run away when she saw me coming towards her. i believe she orchestrated the free towel and tote, but i was too excited to understand it at the time. love the towel, love the tote, love that you didn’t kick us out for chocolate-chipping. (do you want some? i’m sure my mom has more.)

next up: tacos with the in-laws. and how i thought i just scratched my throat with a corn shell but wound up coming down with a two-week cold that’s resulted in me becoming an alcoholic.

my chiropractor thinks i’m goth

me, according to my chiropractor. i have gorgeous baby blues, don't i? ok, stop staring at me or i'll put a hex on you.

i want to start things off here by saying that i have nothing against anyone goth. some of my best friends are goth. (actually they’re not. i totally made that up to make myself sound credible.) no but seriously. i like the cure as much as anyone (ok mostly their greatest hits but still). and i’ll admit to spending a considerable amount of time at hot topic in my youth (and by youth i actually mean last year). but dammit, people. i’m not goth. can someone please convince my chiropractor of this?

our chiropractor is kevin. we’ve been going to him, like, forever. (ok, maybe four or five years, but two of those years i was working at a boring/evil office where every year was actually 10,000 years, so i suppose he’s actually been our chiropractor for just over 20,000 years.)

if i go in for an appointment and i’m wearing a white shirt or (gasp!) something even mildly colorful (this is rare, but still) he totally freaks out and says something along the lines of woah, jessica! i see you’re breaking out of the whole goth thing today! what’s up with the bright shirt!? you’re not goth anymore? the worst part is he’s not even kidding.

my first instinct is, of course, to say something kind of obnoxious but i think we all agree it’s best not to piss off people that are about to adjust your spine.

i don’t know how many times i have to explain to him that i’m not goth. i just have extremely dark hair and wear mostly black. it’s called northern new jersey, folks. it’s my heritage. it’s programmed into my DNA. and anyway, usually i’m not wearing black pants and a black shirt (tho i do from time to time–it’s called dressing up). i’m typically wearing jeans and a black shirt of some sort. so i’m more like a walking bruise than goth. no white makeup. no dog collars. no chains from ear to nose.

(if you’re goth and offended by my stereotypical portrait of goth ppl, i invite you to chime in re: diversity in the goth community, i.e. please don’t hunt me down and kill me. or put a hex on me. unless you want to hex the curl out of my hair so i don’t have to break down and get a keratin treatment. which would save me both time and money, but really it’s up to you. more on that in a sec.)

anyway, the last time i went in for an appointment i was wearing a white shirt and white capris (hello, do you think anyone goth would wear capris?) and he nearly blew a gasket. i’m telling you his world was flipped completely upside down. i wanted to say, kevin, it’s 200 degrees outside and 1,000 percent humidity. even lady gaga’d be breakin out the pastels today. but my resistance was futile. to kevin i am always and will forever be goth. so i’m just going to have to accept it and move on or else risk losing feeling in my toes and/or find a new chiropractor.

now that that’s out in the open, some other notables:

1) many thanks for making my surgery post pretty much the most popular lunch at 11:30 post ever. (if you didn’t read about my surgery, you really need to b/c it’s mostly about me high on drugs at the hospital and you’ll pee in your pants or at least laugh really loud at work and disrupt your coworkers. the best part is that the anesthesiologist that drugged me actually read the post and commented. i died a little inside. it was that funny.)

1.5) if you read that post, you know about my surgery mix (i.e. the vaguely titled “new mix”). well it turns out “new mix” is great not only for IV insertion (*thump* sorry i fainted again as i wrote that) but also doubles as a fabulous daytime work mix. email me if you want the track list. just call me dj jazzy jess. (wait no. don’t.)

2) last week i made fun of holly on facebook  for sneezing (while driving) and simultaneously honking the car horn saying it was–and i quote–quite possibly the dorkiest thing i’ve ever witnessed.  well over the weekend i sneezed so hard in home depot that my sunglasses slipped off the top of my head and landed lopsided on my nose. my arms were too full of boring home depot sh*t to put them back on my head and some lady yelled BLESS YOU! across the entire garden section and then shouted something about allergies. karma.

3) i’m lucky that holly loves me so much b/c my hair has reached new levels of hugeness lately, due not only to the merciless baltimore heat/humidity but the fact that i think i have  blackberry thumb from data phone addiction and therefore can’t properly straighten my hair. if it gets any larger we may just split up and not b/c she’s going to leave me. because she’ll get pushed out of the house by my hair. there simply won’t be enough room for the both of us. i wish i was kidding but i’m not. yours truly, jessica the non-goth

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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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…

here’s the thing about warm weather in baltimore

everybody’s out. it’s like entire households empty into the street.

it hit 70 here today, which is why i mention it.

every druggie, every crazy, every dealer, every person who’s been going stir-crazy in their lil rowhomes just rolls out onto all available sidewalks and stoops (even stoops that aren’t theirs. like, um, ours) and makes noise and litters and spits and fights.

i’m not saying that it’s a bad thing that people are outside. it’s great. it’s great that winter’s finally coming to a close, and all us humans are reveling in the mild weather. it’s just that all the usual debauchery that usually goes on indoors (fightening, drunkeness, fighting)  is suddenly made public, and i never seem ready for it.

it’s kinda like…well, it’s kinda like that feeling that some of us who don’t have the extra money to get regular professional pedicures but who’d like to (i’m in this category) are suddenly faced with the option to wear flip-flops. or sandals. (i guess this would just apply to those living where it’s only warm half of the year) the bottom line is that you’re just not ready for it. you slip them on, and you feel a little too naked, a little too exposed. just not mentally or physically prepared to expose your feet and toes to the world.

that’s how i always feel about our neighborhood once the weather gets warm. i’m just not ready for the craziness. the noise (specifically the fighting) and the thumping bass from all the sooped up hondas and  black-tinted caddies plus stoop boomboxes makes it hard to keep your windows open. hard to sleep, esp., even when they’re closed.

i don’t know if this is cities in general, or just east baltimore. oh and now that i think about it, don’t  get me started on the friggin ice cream truck. that thing starts its rounds around, well, we actually heard it for the first time today, and i swear it doesn’t stop blaring its crackhead version of “pop goes the weasel” or whatever it is til october. i kid you not. plus it’s out til past 11 p.m.  now you tell me: do you think a rickety old “pop goes the weasel” half-assed ice cream truck that’s still out near midnight is just selling ice cream? my thoughts exactly.

also? dirt bike gangs. one just passed by. i forgot to mention the dirtbike (and four-wheeler) gangs. another story for another day.