It’s Summer – Live With It!

summer

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.

5 Reasons Why I Love Autumn

autumnI’ve already said I hate summer, so chances are good I’m on Satan’s shortlist of souls he’d like to meet and greet — permanently.  Hating summer is like seeing an ugly baby and then actually saying it : everybody kinda agrees with you, but nobody’s on your side.  However, as the man said, “If you’re going to Hell anyway, you might as well just keep driving.”  So summer might not actually suck — all the time — but here are 5 reasons why I prefer autumn.

Autumn is active — When summer is over, you can actually do things again — like walking down the street or standing waiting for a bus — without feeling like a tributary of the Amazon is flowing down the back of your shirt and into your underwear.

Autumn is cozy — There is nothing better than a fuzzy sweater on a chilly evening.  And is there anybody in this world who doesn’t like fat, warm socks?  These are two of life’s priceless little pleasures that release tons of endorphins.  Unfortunately, they’re not available to us when the temperature is 36 degrees in the shade — and there ain’t no shade.  It is my considered opinion that the lack of fuzzy sweaters and fat socks is why people in desert countries are so grouchy all the time.

Autumn moves — Summer doesn’t move.  It just lies on you like a Hot Fudge Quilt.  Autumn, on the other hand, lives on the breeze.  You can taste it in the early morning, fresh as that first cup of coffee.  It plays in the trees like Peter Pan having a giggle.  It swirls and twirls tiny tornados of leaves at your feet, teases your hair like a casual lover and sends you to bed with an extra blanket tucked up to your chin.

Autumn is made of soup — There is only so much cremated cow a man can stand.  Autumn is the time for great cauldrons of things that sound and bubble and fill up the house with steam and smell and plenty; served in great bowls with bread or in a thick mug, balanced just right between you and your book.

And finally:

Autumn is serious — When the temperature starts to drop in the Northern Hemisphere, we all have this weird cultural memory that “Winter is Coming” and it’s going to try to kill us.  We don’t lay in stocks of food and firewood anymore, but we do subconsciously put away the toys of summer and assemble our tools.  That’s why God made “Back to School” sales.

It might still be three weeks until Autumn is “officially” here, but Mother Nature and I always start early — right after Labour Day.  And I can see it from here.

5 Reasons I Hate Summer

summer heatI woke up this morning and, for the first time, I could see autumn from here.  What a relief!  It’s not that I hate summer; it’s just that summer is so-o-o-o-o long and sweaty and inconvenient and bug-infested and sticky and annoying and … I think I’ve made my point.

Here are five reasons I’m happy to finally see autumn coming.

Summer is noisy — Everybody and his sister thinks they have a moral obligation to share their taste in music with the universe.  From the middle of May to Labour Day, Earth’s atmosphere is wall-to-wall stereos, blasting away like the Seven Trumpets of the Apocalypse.  It’s a wonder other planets don’t get pissed off and call the cops.

Summers are underdressed — It’s as if the entire world went to the beach and never came home.  I’m no prude, but men, shirts (even t-shirts) should have sleeves, not gaping holes; dirty feet are not fetish material, especially in a bank or a restaurant; and ladies, boobs and bum cheeks should go on the inside of whatever you’re wearing — that’s why you’re wearing it.

It’s hot — Mother Nature goes nuts every the summer — that’s her job — but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

The food sucks — I like BBQ as well as the next man, but I don’t believe 30,000 years of human development should be thrown away every time the sun shines.  We’re not Neanderthals, and contemporary life should feature better cuisine than a glob of potato salad, a lukewarm beer and a slab of overcooked meat snatched from a backyard crematorium by somebody wearing a “Kiss the Cook” apron.

And finally:

Nobody’s around — Every time you want to do something important, the person you need to sign the form, stamp the approval or initial the receipt is always on vacation.  There is nothing more frustrating than standing there, up to your elbows in some bureaucrat’s idea of paperwork Nirvana, while the one person you simply have to have to complete the process is at the beach, dancing half-naked around the fire while her drunken secretary is busy flipping the burgers — all to the tune of “In The Summertime” by Mungo Jerry.