Svmer is icumen in
Lhude sing cuccu
and bloweþ med
and springþ þe wde nu
Last night, by the time I had left the agglomeration of desks and wires and purportedly ergonomic chairs they call an office, the temperature had dropped precipitously.
When I arrived at work, the thermometer had been heading up toward 90 for the fifth straight day. But now it was in the low 60s, with a cool, wet wind blowing down 11th Avenue. As I was walking toward my ride-share, I saw an urban leaf—where it came from, I’ll never know, there are no trees on the far west side. The leaf was brown and desiccated; it was dressed already for Fall.
Rain fell while I was in my car. My driver was of the old school and refused to turn on his wipers, like wizened prisoners will sometimes refuse privileges while incarcerated, just to assert their independence, their right to say no.
The sun was peeking out from behind huge stratocumulus as I arrived in my sleepy neighborhood, and thanks to the rain, the streets looked clean, like asphalt straight out of LA. I saw a red Honda as I exited the Chevy Suburban, it was covered by a thick quilt of fallen leaves.
I walked to my apartment house—the car had dropped me 200 feet from my door—and I chastised myself for not having worn a light jacket. It was that cool out. Instead, I pulled my baseball cap down half-an-inch as if that would afford so protection, but no.
I thought of all the work we’ve done this summer. The commercials, the ads, the banners. I thought of all the late nights and endless rivers of powerpoint as long as the Ganges and just as dirty. I thought about all the beaches I haven’t visited, all the quiet walks along the East River I haven’t taken, all the ballgames I haven’t seen—not big games at tax-payer paid for stadiums only the rich can afford to attend, but Little League games in the park with eager kids playing for fun and young parents marveling at it all. I thought about all the soft-serve I haven’t eaten, and sweet corn with variegated yellow and while kernels. I thought about lemonade stands and earnest children selling a synthetic drink for a buck. I thought about lonely walks with Whiskey by my side, carrying her duck decoy in her soft mouth. I thought about all that disappearing and another summer, come and gone.
The doorman opened the door for me and said something innocuous about the cold. I guffawed back, as I do, with a big gregarious laugh.
“Yep,” I said, “summer’s slipping away.”
He walked me to the elevator, being friendly.
“Not so fast, Mr. Tannenbaum,” he said. “Not so fast.”