Monday, August 17, 2015

an ode to the summertime storm.

It's so hot.  It won't be enjoyable.
That's the right attitude!
I thought we were bringing cheese and crackers.  You should have cut the watermelon into slices.

Thus began my Sunday.  A picnic in the middle of Prospect Park on a 98-degree day was the last thing I wanted to do.  Even with good company, this summer heat is making a grump out of me.  Once I had an iced americano in hand I was a little more amenable... but still hot.  We got sandwiches at the bagel shop and packed a large bag of watermelon after I grouched about how it had been cut.  I was not a happy camper.

After meeting Conor midway between our apartments, we boarded the G train going south and my mood lifted; the meat and cheese picnic box Conor was toting cheered me up.  As soon as we sat down, I noticed a couple with a hefty New York guidebook in hand.  The husband opened their knapsack and pulled out a bundle of clothes.  The wife pulled on a tweed-style jacket while he wrapped a plaid scarf around his neck (arms still bare in a t-shirt).  I had to laugh; of course it was freezing inside the subway car but I couldn't get over how prepared these tourists were.  I made a note to find their guidebook for the next city I visit.

With goosebumps on our bare arms we stepped out of the train and into the neat front stoops of Park Slope.  We made our way toward the coordinates on Kevin's Google Maps app, marveling at technology.  I feel grateful to be at an age where I can appreciate how meeting up with friends required an aforementioned time and place.  It's eerily easy to find the meeting spot when you have the GPS coordinates and a satellite some thousands of miles overhead pinpointing the exact location of the picnic blankets.

We settled under a tree and enjoyed the shade with the occasional warm breeze drifting over the hill.  It seemed as though everyone cleared out the crunchy snack department of his or her local bodega.  An hour later, some of the guys had drifted over to play Spikeball and those of us on the blankets checked our weather apps, noticing a few gray clouds over the treetops in the distance.  The game continued, the forecast was clear, and we were grateful for the cool relief the clouds offered against the sun.

Then, I felt a drop-- not one of those small pricks of moisture but a fat, slobbering raindrop, right on my freckled forearm.  Conor felt one too, then Meg, then Irma.  We began to move cell phones and clothes under the tree as the drops quickened.

Five minutes later the leaves on every tree were blowing sideways and we were drenched, water collecting in our shoes and hair plastered to our sunburned foreheads.  The two weeks' worth of newspapers I had brought were sopping pulp, bags of chips useless now with the rain, and electronics stuffed hurriedly into dry nooks of backpacks.  We were completely disoriented, the mid-August heat and humidity transformed into wind and rain and chills in a matter of minutes.  We laughed at our bad luck and once our heads cleared. went our separate ways to subways and apartments and cars.

As soon as we stepped beyond the park gates, the rain had petered to an unconvincing drizzle and the blue skies had conquered the clouds.  My sister arrived to meet us, dry and warm and confused when we motioned for her to turn back around and head underground.  My feet were dyed blue from my new shoes.  The subway ride back to Greenpoint was freezing cold; I wish I'd had the foresight to pack a jacket and scarf.  But there is something so pure about being drastically under-prepared.  I think I prefer it that way.

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