Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Year Bottled Up in a Summer

The days are too long, the weeks are too short… It feels as if we’re all trying to cram in all the fun that we’ve missed out on in the last two years into a relatively short season. The elements are all rather customary for a Lebanese summer: the festivals have been announced and the tickets are selling like hotcakes, visitors are flying in from abroad, weddings are blooming galore, sluggish cafés and restaurants are revived for the longer summer days… All pretty regular except for two main factors: first, we haven’t done this in a while and are a little out of shape, and second, everything has been magnified with multiple more visitors and weddings – and I mean LOTS more.

So much so that it doesn’t just feel like we’re making up for lost time, but rather packing in as much summer fun as possible before something goes wrong again and suspends this high we’re on. And that really is all we’re on – a high. I have likened our current state to that of a druggie who knows that he’ll crash when it’s all over, but just wants to enjoy it while it lasts.

But that’s not what I’m writing about right now. Right now, I too am trying to make the most of this high, suddenly realizing that there could be more going on in my days than long working hours and slow evenings, and actually stressing over juggling schedules of arrival and departure dates. Once again, as with practically every summer that has passed since I was a student, I recognize the wisdom of taking the summer off. Lebanon is one of the only countries I know of that has a system of summer working hours, promoting shorter days. As odd as I found that when I first heard of it, I totally understand it now. Not making the most of glorious summer days is like waiting for ice cream to melt before taking in the first spoonful… what would be the point?

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