August. The balmy bliss of sandy sheets. This month requires a certain je ne sais quoi when waiting to get a spot off Ocean View Drive with a pack of 6-to-11-year-old cousins on a sweltering Sunday afternoon (note: save some strength for the double feature at the drive-in afterwards). We are gathered here today to troubleshoot a variety of scenarios you are likely to encounter throughout this spectacularly occupied month, with guided meditations.
Observation: Bikers are everywhere. Cyclists, that is. Especially on any curvy road that leads to water and on your bladder-filled return home. They work to reverse global warming by traveling in pairs, or large groups, or as a solo male in a unitard. As you lean your head out the window, checking whether you might possibly pass on an extremely brief straightaway, you spot their neon friends cruising at you — hundreds of them — from the opposite direction.
Mantra: They are saving me, they are saving Mother Earth, they are such fit people. You, my friend, who can barely carry a floatie on your head up the Great Pond staircase, you were relieved to see a dino-sized elevator rise up at the Monument. Yesterday, you caught yourself looking for a stool to lean on at Sam’s Deli whilst you waited for your bagel sandwich. Not pointing fingers. It’s been a long year for us all. And yes, the bikers are the most entitled bros on wheels.
But don’t go there. Smile, wave, holler, “Thank you, Craig!” after Craig checks his hat mirror and pedals closer to the sand trap on the right side to make room for your Escalade. Craig is lowering carbon levels as he pedals, and things are probably pretty magical under all that Lycra.
Observation: Mosquitos. Unlike anything you’ve ever seen (or felt) outside of that hike you took in 1999. You were silently crying through the tropics, clad in yoga shorts and a jog bra, learning that audible sobs create extra CO2, which attracts more mosquitos. Through the tears, you saw the back of your girlfriend’s T-shirt, and nary a mosquito. She did eat a lot of garlic after she broke up with you in that Italian restaurant, so soon after the bread basket arrived.
Mantra: You are Mariah Carey in the “Through the Rain” video. Purchase four industrial fans plus seven 100-foot extension cords. A breeze follows you. Aim a fan at your hammock, two fans at your outdoor shower, three for weeding your garden, and all four fans on high speed on the patio for your cocktail hour(s). You are safe and could land a modeling contract because your hair looks amazing in the wind.
Observation: That stretch of traffic. I don’t need to describe it. Crossing the border from Eastham into Wellfleet. For the love of all things holy, why now? Your plans, your mini Dove bars, your sanity, they all melt. It does not matter the weather, or time of day. You think you got it right this time: it’s a Tuesday. But out of nowhere, the brake lights. You were so close to being on time for your freezer delivery, children’s babysitter, Audubon camp. You will sit on this patch of highway for 18 minutes. You scream. You envision the mini Dove bars in the trunk. But you are crawling.
Mantra: You are a good person. You try so hard. You only screamed at the renters across the street twice in July. You made a Yule for Fuel donation and didn’t give the finger to the Patriot militia group gathered by the Windmill. Listen to a podcast, seatbelt a cooler in the passenger seat, take the back roads, brave that left turn, put Olivia Rodrigo’s “Good 4 U” on repeat, starting at the rotary. Smile big because you live in paradise.