As the first week of September greets you with the potential for pumpkin-spiced everything, do not dismiss the past three months as a fever dream. Instead, embrace the memory of extended daylight and choose the tune that really demonstrates how you feel about what you will soon refer to as: last summer. Your songs from previous years have been strong and remind you of how fast the world spins. But time is running out. You have a few more days left before autumn begins to show her face. To lend you a hand, here are a few situations in which you should definitely try to find yourself, and your sunny anthem:
The sky opens up on these days and nights. Vast corn or strawberry fields work best, or the sandy shores of a lake or ocean; really, any sand will work, sandbox, or sandbar. Lie down as a child might in the snow, face up, perpendicular to the openness above you. Open your mouth and think about screaming but don’t do it because it’s late and people are most likely sleeping and will think there is an emergency or something. Notice the high and floating gobs of gas and feel perfect because the sleepy spectacle is for only you to see. The rhythm of something falling on you and that beat you should know by now.
It’s almost required you attend at least one BBQ per week this time of year. The backyard, the park, the lake house. That one BBQ at your co-worker’s was raging. She’s having another one, an End-of-the-Summer-Blowout. Stop by the liquor store and pick up six (twelve!) beers, maybe a pack of smokes. Text someone who is there and ask them if you should pick anything else up like ice or whatever. Once you arrive, say hello to those you know and wonder about those you don’t. People are pretty hammered and the music is getting louder. Drink six beers, all different brands from that lame but generous hippie’s cooler. The fire is hot and a few people are dancing dangerously close, so close they pretend to fall in, like they are losing their minds or something. The songs are mostly pop, which works totally fine and is doing the trick. Leave the BBQ with your other friend from work. Your sweater will smell of fire for days. And that pop tune will get stuck in your head. That just might be the one.
You feel like you’re inhaling water as you undress, like literally, you don’t have to drink it, just suck the thick wet air into your lungs to both breathe and hydrate. Sexy, right? Wrong. But you can do something about it and best of all, soundtrack the whole event. Listen for that special someone creeping up the stairs. Your shades are drawn and the fire escape is littered with the tiny leaves of a cilantro plan that has seen better days. Instead of that warm “Day’s End” candle from Walgreen’s that works perfectly, light the Citronella candle because you, surprisingly, saw a mosquito the other day and one bite is a monster. Listen to that someone on the last step and watch them as they open the door looking pretty hot, like temperature hot, sweating and carrying what could be that hazy song in their arms.
Hot weather. Okay, even just sort of nice out. You’ve never lived on an island but one marimba, one set up windswept strings, and boom! There you are beneath a palm, maybe on a coast. The summer sun is a gigantic thing and you can feel it. Wake up and see it and float out the door to hang under it. And when it becomes too much and burns your skin, seek out a front porch for the evening if you can find one. The glory of a front porch and shorts at night. And do it again tomorrow. Redder skin. More things marimba, more things windswept, and maybe that warm rhythm you’re looking for.
Scream for real this time in the alleyway of a bar or the entrance to the train station. The corner market is open, it’s late but not late enough, and you need spray paint. Who knows why? They have three different colors and you’re surprised because you didn’t think they would have any! Lucky you. Buy silver because the other colors are brown and light brown. Say “I will be” when the store clerk asks if you’re okay. He sees the crazy in your eyes. Run into the middle of the street. The can shakes like a rattle. Spray out your name in big round letters and add three exclamation points as though the pavement is announcing you. A car speeds through the intersection and you find yourself back in the doorway of the corner market. The clerk peeks from behind the counter. A song sings out from the speakers. The chant you have been looking for.
Sit on the curb in front of the house in which you grew up and suck down fourteen Otter Pops, literally fourteen, do it no problem. Hum tunelessly and count cars that slip by and then lose count. Think of how your teen years were spent contemplating your asymmetric limbs and potentially permanent under bite. Yikes! Your hand on occasion fell notably into the grip of another’s, but more often, it did not. The streetlights come on and this is a sign for you to retire into your old house, not because you are young but because you once were. Knock then put your ear to the door. Your anthem might be playing on the other side.
When all else creative and absurb lets you down, your safety net is ready and waiting. You could have attempted this right from the start and you could have been successful but what about the journey and how much it matters? So here goes, the failsafe, the simple: wait patiently until 1am and jump into your car. If you are vehicle-less, you can always rent a Zipcar. Turn the key and find the highway then find the fast lane. Roll the window down and feel the welcomed chill lift the small hairs on the back of your neck. Reach your arm out and do that wavy thing with your hand, the one where your fingers ride through the warm air high and low, like a roller coaster. Something is for sure playing on the radio and you are golden.