Summer Complaints (Again)

It’s not even midsummer and I’m grouchy already.  One more 50 calibre motorcycle screaming through my tranquil afternoon and I swear I’m going to ….  Actually, I’m probably not going to do anything except grumble about it in the privacy of my own head.  That’s the problem with summer: ya can’t do anything about it.  And now that I’m on the subject, here are a few other things — ya just can’t do anything about.

The price of airline tickets is never the same as the one they advertise. — According to some recent TV ads, I can go from Vancouver to London and back for $799.00 — except I can’t.  I guarantee you, if I show up at the airline ticket counter with $800.00, I will NOT — I repeat, NOT — get a return ticket to London and a dollar change.  Why?  ‘Cause there’s the fuel surcharge, the airport fee, the sales tax. the departure gouge, the baggage scam, the seat selection swindle, the in-flight menu con job and, I’m sure, the You’re-A-Dumbass-Tourist tax is hiding in there somewhere.  The truth is, by the time the airlines get finished with all their extra charges, the price of your $799.00 ticket is so outrageous that the only thing you’ll be able to afford to do, once you get to London, is beg in the streets!

Fast food never looks like the picture. — Take a look at a photograph of the Burrito Supremo, and it’s huge: fat and round and bursting with meat, peppers and melting cheese.  You can practically smell the fried onions.  Buy it and what you get is this sorry, deflated tube of hamburger and diced veggie surprise, wrapped in an dingy grey tortilla.  Pick it up and it sags in the middle and starts oozing orange out the bottom.  (Cheese sweat?)

Nobody but Stephen Hawking can understand a contemporary telephone plan. — Like everybody on this planet, I have a mobile phone and like everybody on this planet, the person who sold it to me gave me 20 minutes of gibberish and 30 seconds to make up my mind about “Which plan is right” for me.  King Solomon had more time to make a decision, and he had information he could understand.

And there’s more:

Emails that keep on giving, even though you’ve unsubscribed — daily — for the last two weeks.
The parent in front of you at the ATM who’s trying to teach their 4-year-old how to electronically renegotiate a mortgage.
The pedestrian who’s halfway across the street and can’t figure out whether to walk, run or hide from oncoming traffic.
Coffee drinkers who abandon their empty cups wherever and whenever the whim takes them.
Joggers and cyclists who insist on traveling side-by-side and driving anyone coming the other way into the weeds to get around them.  “Yeah, you’re healthier than I am.  Big wow!”
Wine snobs.
Trump haters who refuse to change the subject — even though you’ve told them 12 times that you’ve already heard what an idiot the guy is.

And finally:

There’s going to be somebody out there who’s more than willing to point out that these are all First World Problems. — Yeah, I know, and I’m sure you’re a better person than I am — but I’m hot and sweaty and I’m not hurting anybody.  Besides, admit it or not, sometimes, it just feels good to bitch.

Why I Hate Summer!

Now that summer’s practically over, I can safely say I was never a big fan.  I don’t mean this summer in particular.  All things considered, it was pretty good.  I’m talking about summers in general: that interminable time between frivolous spring and serious autumn.  To me, summers have always been a kind of hurry-up-and-wait clock watcher, full of relentless heat and go out and play.  Translation: it’s too stinkin’ hot to do anything except get skin cancer, so let’s pretend we’re having fun until it cools off and we can do something interesting.   It’s no coincidence that half the season is called “dog days.”  Here are the six and a half reasons why I hate summer.

1 – Everybody complains about the heat.  For ten months of the year people pray, sacrifice small animals and practically sell their soul on eBay for summer to arrive.  Then,the minute it gets here they spend the next two months bitchin’ about how hot it is.  Folks; believe me, nobody needs to know where the water is collecting in your underwear – or why.

2 – Nobody wears enough clothes.  There is a small, select group of people in this world who look good semi-naked.  The rest of us need to be a whole lot more judicious about what we choose not to wear.  Here’s a good rule of thumb: if it looks like your ass is eating your swimming costume, you need to do that in the privacy of your own home, not at the mall.  Men, just because you can take your shirt off it doesn’t mean you should.  Women, if most of you is overflowing your wardrobe, you need a bigger size.  Remember: just because it zips doesn’t mean it fits.

3 – Barbeques.  Humans have spent the last 50,000 years in a steady evolutionary path away from their half-animal ancestors who huddled under trees for shelter.  So what’s the first thing we do when the weather turns warm?  Run outside and cook dinner over an open fire.  I don’t care what anybody says barbeques are all about swishing the flies off bad cuts of meat which are then placed in a crematorium until everybody’s too drunk to give a damn what they’re eating.

4 – Loud music.  It’s summer.  The surface temperature of any given street is measured in solar units.  As a small protection against heat stroke and eventual death, people have their windows open – day and night.  Suddenly, every moron with a stereo cranks that baby up to DefCon 4.  SUVs with blacked-out windows cruise the night, sounding  like Heart/Lung machines, the seventeen-year-old white kid two blocks over thinks he’s Lil Wayne’s nephew and granny in the fourplex just loves Shania Twain.  This is what the CIA does to Al Qaeda prisoners to make them talk.  It’s like spending your vacation at Gitmo.

5 – Traffic.  Every year, one minute after they throw the checkered flag at the Indy 500, it’s ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.  For the next two months, half the population takes to the open road — except there is no open road because half the population’s on it.  Between vacationing commuters who haven’t driven an automobile since this time last year and the Department of Holidays (Highways?) tearing up every inch of asphalt with a curb on it, nobody is going anywhere without pushing their stress level to apoplectic shock.  Just getting to 7/11 for a slurpee is a twelve obscenity job – and that’s if you’re walking.

6 – Idiot Weathermen.  The fact is there are only so many ways anybody can say, “It’s going to be so-o-o hot tomorrow you’re going to want to kill yourself.”  Therefore, every summer, television stations give their weather people idiot jobs to do.  They run the contests, interview the lemonade stand kids and give out the birthday greeting to folks like Mabel Hawthorne who’s ninety-one years young.  Eventually, they show up at the State Fair, where they eat Deep-Fried Mars Bars and make absolute fools of themselves screaming on the Tilt-a-Whirl.  There’s got to be a better way to make a living.

6.5 – Useless baseball games.  Major league baseball plays something like 60 million games a year, and between Independence Day and Labor Day most of them are meaningless.  How many times can Toronto play Seattle for God’ sake?  It’s the only real sport in the summer.  The least they could do is make some of it interesting.

Back in the day, when we toiled for our daily bread, we needed summer, if for no other reason than to remind us that Mother Nature still loved her children.  However, in our contemporary concrete canyon existence, summer isn’t a season anymore; it’s a travesty.  It turns us into half-naked savages, grunting around a backyard barbeque, screaming at the kids to turn that damn music down, while simultaneously picking portions of our apparel out of our crevices and wishing it would rain.  God, I’m glad it’s nearly over.