Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Lazy, Hazy, Crazed Days...

Well,we’ve reached what is called summer in the Pacific Northwest: the moss is healthy and green, the slugs have reached their full 5-inch length and are making squadrons of replacements, the East Coasters have overrun the place… by which I mean the quack grass, Himalayan blackberry, morning glory, buttercup and other European-by-way-of-Ellis-Island transplants. Because they have no competition out here, they have basically taken over - and being from NJ myself, I know that Oregonians have few ways of dealing with our, shall we say, slightly more assertive stance on everything. I learned the Oregonian way to address these invasions, now that the New Jersey favorite, DDT, has been banned. I tilled the areas where the plants appear, killed off all the seedlings (a pitched battle) and planted natives. However they are as laid back as most Oregonians, and the weeds keep appearing daily. Their battlecry: “You want that bit? No? Okay, I’ll take it!”

But today -- for three days only! (sounds like an applicance sale) -- we have NJ temps (though thankfully not the humidity), so I’ve started off early to water those delicate Oregon-optimized peas, cabbage, tomatoes and other veggies which are bred to endure 60-degree summers. They are handling the 100 degree temps about as you might expect: keeling over like a grandmother in a NYC subway (okay, not from being clubbed and robbed). I have risked burning out my well pump in order to provide them this deep moisture -- I was told by the inspector, a young woman barely 20, that using a sprinkler or soaker hoses will cause the motor to turn on an off and shorten its life… she did not tell me what the other alternative is, so I listen as the motor goes on and off, and wonder when I’ll be needing to call the pump guys (probably not until visitors arrive on a Sunday). I am also enjoying the coolness before it shrivels in the sun, batting various spiders away from my laptop (everyone’s a critic, I tell you…) and watching the mosquitoes circle. Despite the new deadly illness du jour, I’m not wearing bug spray. First, I fear the chemicals they’ve invented more than the bugs (Remember: “__Insert Chemical Name Here__ is Your Friend”), and second, I have the kind of blood, or personality, that apparently makes me an absolutely last resort. Rarely get a nibble. Personally, I think it’s the coffee, but most people have suggested the acerbic wit that infuses my veins and my emails. In fact, I just watched a moquito attack my coffee cup (rather than me) so my friends must be right.

As idyllic as this is, it just can’t compare to the summers of my youth (do they still play “Roll out those lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer…“ anywhere on the radio?) I’ve been musing about why that might be. One possibility is that I’ve truly entered my dotage, and am blithering. One obvious one is that I now have charge of the checkbook, which is attached to the pile of bills, which is like holding on to a gently hissing stick of dynamite. A certain tension results. Even though as a girl, I was expected to cook meals, I wasn’t expected to figure out where they came from. And of course there is the ever-true, “the world was /safer/quieter/simpler/saner/ when I was a child.” And it was… most drug addicts and alcoholics stayed at home (I know - our family visits got mighty interesting), the stores actually closed on Sundays so there was one day at least that you couldn’t shop until your brains fell out, and there weren’t closed circuit cameras and computer keycapture software ready to play your life back at you and the general public on a whim. And once you need a refresher course on the basic skills needed to get through the week, you are “past it”. At a certain point in one’s maturity, one realizes the world is going to Hell, handbasket optional. “Hill? What hill?” my friends and I joke, but when you wake up and can barely unfold yourself from the bed without needing ibuprofen, and when the price of a pizza is the same as what you spent on your entire back-to-school supply list, you know you’ve passed the torch (or the gently hissing stick of dynamite) onto the next generation. Heck - when they advertise car loans now, they are talking about the $100 gas tank loans! ...Oh dear, I seem to have lost my train of thought... back in the summers of my youth, we didn't have to worry about trains of thought, I can tell you -- we walked everywhere!

-- and now a tiny spider has crawled under my F4 function key, so I’ll have to stop and do excavation.

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