Hot Summer

In recognition of the extreme heat we’ve been experiencing in the Northeast lately I thought I would get a little random and off-topic and dig up and share one of my favorite pieces of commentary about hot weather which aired on NPR about 15 years ago.  Got a kick out of it then, still get a kick out of it now.  Acknowlegements and thanks to NPR.

NPR SHOW: All Things Considered (NPR 4:30 pm ET)

June 21, 1995

Transcript # 1885-17

SECTION: News; Lifestyle

LENGTH: 623 words

HEADLINE: Summer Ain’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be


HIGHLIGHT: Commentator Marion Winik describes summer as a grown-up in a really hot town. While she admits if she was still a kid, she’d probaly like summer, it just isn’t the same now.

BODY:    ROBERT SIEGEL, Host: It has felt like summer for a long time in Austin, Texas, where commentator Marion Winik lives.  It’s the summer nights that make her feel overheated, dark and lyrical.

MARION WINIK, Commentator: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s night?  Thou art more lovely and more temperature, but I’m afraid that’s not saying much.  These nights are thick and heavy as black velour, hot and form fitting against our bodies, over our faces.  A humid landscape through which we plod like testy zombies, arms outstretched, eyes blank, returning slowly and inexorably to our air conditioned tombs.  We have sacrificed our last calorie of energy on the altar of daytime.  We have burned the skin off our thighs getting into the car.  We have permanent ruts between our eyes from the weight of our sun glasses.  Exhausted drag queens and melted make-up.  We have worked our last nerve.   Motorcycles thunder.  Jet planes roar.  A distant procession of sirens woo-woos for hours, as if for blocks around us people are dropping like flies.  The cicadas drone the same annoying phrase over and over, a garage band of four-year-olds with sitars.  Then, the monotony is cracked, shattered glass, a shot, a firecracker, maybe just a boom car throbbing down the street.   Toward midnight, the fabric of the sky is torn by heat lightning.  Even the atmosphere cannot take it anymore.  Somewhere a serial killer’s air conditioning conks out and he leaves his home.   What is the half life of a snow cone? But a millisecond compared to the sticky mess into which it devolves.  And what of the scent of honey suckle?  No match for the sweetness of ripening dumpster rot.   Ah, the perfume of summer, chlorine, tar, sun screen, burned meat and ketchup. Yes, ketchup, red and viscous, dripping from refrigerator shelves down every picnic table, every tee-shirt, from the formica of every take out window to the hot asphalt, ketchup, the blood of summer, oozing from our food, our food which is fast and salty and greasy.  Our food which is like our love, only with more ketchup.   Don’t start with me about fire flies, drive-in movies, hide-and-go-seek, skinny legs swinging from the fire escape, the sound of a radio drifting through the open windows of the house next door.  I’ve had my good times.  Like Walt Whitman, my mad, naked summer nights.  I’ve had frozen drinks so cold I lost two years worth of memory.  I’ve danced so hard and long I had to throw away those clothes.  I’ve climbed over the fence at the city pool for a midnight swim and gotten busted.  I’ve eaten ice cream ’til I puked.  I’ve drunk until I puked. I’ve stayed all night in bars that smelled like puke.  I’ve waited and waited for the fireworks and I’ve waited for you to kiss me and I’ve waited for someone to get back with the friggin’ beer.   Sure, if I still had a bed time, I’d be happy to stay up past it.  If I still went to school, I’d be glad it was closed.  If I still fell in love with life guards, I’d be delighted to have one.  But those days are over.  Now our kids are in bed, our cock roaches in their cupboards, our empty beer cans nestled in the recycling bin.  We’re avoiding an argument.  You want to set the AC to 65 and sleep with five quilts?  That’s fine with me.  I’ve had it with showers and ceiling fans and it’s almost time to get up anyway.   Let’s kill this night and call it morning while there’s still time to make coffee before the burning starts.

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