There is a peculiar dimension to the anthropology of holidaymaking. There has always been one; from impatient airport lines and funny tan lines, to that awkward mountain vacation with mum, dad and the boyfriend. In fact, summers are peculiar experiences themselves. They always return as snapshots of wet and salty memories those nights of mid-autumn ultraviolet hallucination, naively meditating thoughts of alcohol guilt.
Most peculiarly, you are always unsure about their reality, as in a state of constant sun-struck apathy. I told myself I would be fluent in Spanish by the end of August. I also promised I would make enough money to afford those studded boots. Long gone. Maybe some other time. You never remember how many stars you counted a second ago because you stopped to wonder about the epistemology of some strange fantasy, the clarity of your own existence, the number of times you listened to the same song by the Strokes over a period of half an hour, or the inconceivable vastness of the universe.
Summer is extravagant, flamboyant, reckless. You either live it or you don’t. Loose shirts make loose heads. Surprisingly, Mexican food tastes better in Napa than in Cancun. Pruned fingers and purple lips- aftermath of some mermaid afternoon adventure. Shameless lovemaking. Fruity yoghurt. Empty-handed one-night promises on mojito-drunken dance floors. Chipped nail-polish. Young starry-eyed serenades and a song about a mysterious train. Aphrodite’s land. Nonsense of some great kind. Impromptu beach parties and skinny dipping with the girls. And amongst all of that, at the end of the day, food is the art of living.
June is for re-claiming the island. Then it’s high-heeled disco nights and sleepy movie marathons. July saves the day; post-teenage dreaming and guitar solos on the beach. August (in the words of Teresa) is for those who seek ‘la dolce vita’. Permanent bikini attire and road trips; a lot of them. To Paradise- seriously. Uncomfortable jazz festival camping. Filthy bathrooms and Real hippies. Peace and Love. Imaginary mermaids in the Blue Lagoon. The old-fashioned way. Mission in search of the legendary Mufflon. Now I can at least say I found it.
Septembers come out of nowhere. August still dominates. Retrospectively, at least. I never bothered really thinking about it. As far as I know it is always summer ’til the end. Streams of thought, frappé coffee, rainbow life. Lethargic, nostalgic, fantastic.
Retrospectively, summers are a great way to learn and to love. Boyfriends sometimes exceed expectations- we may now communicate (and commune) in Greek. Dad is the best company for a hike. Not everyone in the world is familiar with ‘the’ 4th of July. Dogs are recommended yet not necessary for family happiness. Great disasters can bring about the Awakening. To fear is to deny. It is possible to survive without electricity in Western civilisation. And finally, winters come for a reason. You can’t be mindless all year round. After all, we are just kids. Retrospectively, that is.
Photography – Elena Georgalla