There is more than one way to change the world.
It's G's 28th birthday today, and also the day the UK withdrew from the EU, which...let's just say I'm feeling the need to go back to all the times lately I've had a bad week, scratch it out, and write month over top.
Summer's been a mixed bag so far, to say the least. In our own little enclave of a home everything's pretty good, really. We're doing alright on pretty much all fronts. It's the stuff out there that's a mess, and in trying to figure out what we can do about any of it, we end up frustrated and sad.
I'm reminded of the oft-cited and probably false example used to illustrate the difference between correlation and causation: that the rates of violent crimes go up as the sales numbers for ice cream climb. Summer is volatile by nature, in the way the heat can take people from having uninhibited fun to tired, hot, and cranky in a matter of minutes. When we add in the emotional weight of a season we feel guilty if we don't "make the most of" and the fact that many countries and cultures celebrate their nationality (and with it, their insiderness) in the summer, it can be a recipe for awfulness. Not to mention the fact that the whole heat equation might be part of the reason so many people have rebelled, revolted, or fought for independence in the summer--people get fed up with nonsense when they're overheated.
So it's hot. People are cranky. The xenophobes get more xenophobic, the anxious catastrophize, most of us are either experiencing FOMO or trying to remind ourselves that FOMO isn't a thing that matters to us and we don't have to buy into it, and like most seasons that are supposed to be magical and free, we're all a little disappointed with how things turn out.
This is the first City Summer I've really experienced. Between the summer I was afraid to go outside and the summers where I didn't really have an outside to relax in, summer itself hasn't been much of a thing for a while. This year, though, because of the deck, my legs are slightly less pale than usual and I've gotten a lot more fresh air. I bought shorts! It's like I'm a stranger to myself.
What's been happening, though, is the combination of city summer and feeling like I'm part of the city. It was actually this exact date last year when my feeling of settling in hit me, finally, and I began to consider this place home, but it's still a fairly new, fragile thing. City summer is a unique creature, frankly, because there's so much going on, so many people sharing so many things, and everybody's out in the world. Toronto spends most of the year huddled up and bundled, so that even when we're technically outside we're covered in so much stuff that we're insulated. But in the summer, we literally bare ourselves. We leave our houses, we leave the subways and tunnels, we show skin and sit in the grass and attend festivals. And because it's the city, we are, almost always, strangers.
I think it means something, all of this. I'm not sure what, not completely, but I think there's something Meaningful in it. Summer is a time when we're both at our most volatile and at our most connected. Something bright hangs in that careful balance.
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