12.11.08

Summertime

In every boy's life, there is 'The Summer'. (Or if there isn't, there certainly ought to be.) Not just any summer. The Summer.

For some, it was The Summer of the Cycle. When you spent weeks perfecting the art of racing downhill without holding on to the handlebar. When every scraped knee was a badge of honour. Every grazed elbow, the price of admission. And the boy with the plaster cast, the most envied lad of the lot.

For others, The Summer by the Pool. When you learnt to swim. When you held competitions to see who could cling longest to the bottom of the ladder in the deep end. (And when a water proof watch was THE accessory.)

Some enjoyed The Summer of Basketball. When 8 hours a day of running, shooting and jumping under the blazing sun, burned away the awkwardness of adolescence. And your parents winced at the thought of you growing out of shoes and clothes for the fourth time in the year.

For many, it was The Summer of The Internal Combustion Engine. When you learned to ride your first motorcycle. Or got behind the wheel of the first car. For some strange reason, this generally also wound up being The Summer of The First Beer.

For many more, The Summer involves The Girl. And no more need be said about this.

The luckiest, of course, had more than just one such summer. But whether you had one, or more, they all had great similarities. An endless succession of bright, cheerfully hot days. Blue skies and wisps of white clouds, straight out of fiction. Fresh, clean air (well, relative to today, at least). Warm nights filled with chirping bugs and the hypnotic drone of a pessimistic ceiling fan. An incredible feeling of health and well-being. And an unspoken, but firm belief in one's immortality.

I count myself fortunate, in that I got to spend the college years working outdoors. Four years, with four spectacular summers spent working with my hands, and building up an honest sweat in the fresh air. Lying on the freshly cropped grass in the evenings, to take a breather, and then strolling back home for a light dinner and the solitary brew, before falling into a deep, deep sleep.

And it's this, that I hate most about working in an office. Even an airy, window-happy one with a garden and ducks, like ours. There's something about an office, that kills the summer. I suppose it has everything to do with riding a desk, instead spending all day riding a cycle, no hands.