Solomon's plan to keep summer going all year long
THE CRAB GRASS covering my lawn is disappearing. My daughter Eve is shopping for school clothes.
The days are getting shorter. My patience is, too. All this can mean only one thing: Summer is finally winding down.
That would be fine if I was willing to accept the reality, but I'm not. I still want to pretend that it doesn't get dark until 9 o' clock. I want to wear sandals and linen on the beach. I want to brunch on Walnut Street and refer to my wife as Luvy. I want to ignore the fact that Labor Day arrives in three weeks.
Unfortunately, my unwillingness to accept the end of summer doesn't change anything. But it sure does make me feel better. That's why, for these last three weeks, I'll go to unreasonable lengths to make summer last forever.
On nights when the temperature drops to 65, I'll keep the windows closed, crank the air to Arctic levels, and pretend it's hell-hot outside. Sure, it might cost me a little more on my electric bill, but it will help me to prolong my fake summer. Of course, air conditioning alone does not make it summer, so I'll have to go further than that.
As the days grow shorter and darkness falls earlier, I'll spend my evenings in sunglasses and pretend it's still July. Maybe I'll even plaster on some fake tattoos to complete my summer look.
I realize there's some risk in doing this. TMZ might see the tatts and shades and mistake me for the rapper 50 Cent. They might even follow me to the market at night when I buy red delicious apples. I can hear them now.
"Fiddy! Fiddy! Why the apples Fiddy? You going healthy on us?"
I will, of course, play along, because that's what you do when someone mistakes you for a rapper.
"Get out my face!" I'll say with my best scowl. Unfortunately it won't work, because I'm a writer in my mid-40s, and no one is intimidated by my best scowl.
"What happened to your muscles Fiddy?" they'll ask in an attempt to draw me into a confrontation.
"I said get out my face!" I'll shout. Then I'll do something I've dreamed about since the day my parents first took pictures of me as a naked baby on a blanket.
I will put my hand in the camera, cover up the lens, and push it away with all my might. As the cameraman stumbles backward, with a look of shock on his face, I will get into my modest car and drive away with my apples, leaving the paparazzi to wonder how 50 Cent hit rock bottom so fast.
Of course, my pretend summer won't end with my television moment. I will find other ways to cheat autumn, too. I'll sprinkle sand on the sidewalk in front of my house and pretend I'm running on the beach. I'll climb into the tub with oars in my hands and act as if I'm rowing on the Schuylkill. But my biggest fake summer stunt of all will be my fake summer block party.
You'll recognize it because it will look a lot like the block parties people are having right now. The only difference will be that my block party will take place in the middle of September.
I won't have a professional DJ, or moon bounces, or delicacies for the neighbors. I won't have 20 grills and food for 300 people. Nope, my block party, like the ones that cut off streets and leave Philadelphians driving in circles, will be a major inconvenience to almost everyone.
First, I'll block off a major street and reroute three bus lines without warning. Once I have the entire area isolated, I will bring out my block-party finery. This will include a stolen police barricade, a card table, an '80s-era component set and four folding chairs.
My block party guest list will be very exclusive. If your name is not LaVeta, Solomon, or Eve Jones, you're not invited, because when the Joneses throw a block party, we need a whole city street to get our groove on.
Yep, summer is going to last for quite some time in the Jones household, so if you see me wearing white after Labor Day, don't judge me. Just smile and know that I'm stuck in a summer time warp. I'll be back by the time we reach July.
Solomon Jones is the author of 10 books,including his latest novel, The Dead Man's Wife (Minotaur Books), and the humor collection Daddy's Home: A Memoir of Fatherhood and Laughter. The married father of three has been featured on NPR and CNN, and has written on parenting for Essence and other publications. He created the literacy program Words on the Street. His column appears uesdays. More at Solomonjones.com.