Volume 76, Number 3 | June 7 - 13, 2006

Notebook

Those lazy days of American summer that I don’t have

By Andrei Codrescu

People are starting to close their letters to me with “Have a deep lazy summer,” and I find myself writing back, “You, too, but don’t fall out of the hammock.” I mean, can you believe that? I don’t even remember my last deep lazy summer. A summer so deep and lazy the light in the foliage dapples my body so I won’t even turn over so as to better look like a leopard. And when I do turn over, there is a triple-scoop-vanilla-ice-cream-cone-cloud with the face of a pug licking slowly over me until the next thing I know I’m smelling cocoa butter and I’m being brushed lightly by two friendly breasts. Then someone yells, “cut!”

Actually, a day like that might be enough, even if it’s just a shoot on the beach I’m acting in for free. A whole summer might get cloying. Anyway, I’m drifting from the subject, which was, I think, that people who write to me imagine that as soon as summer comes I sink into some kind of fleur-scented decrepitude among the fragrant vines on my wrought-iron veranda and allow myself to sink into the arms of a three-months long reverie — until the first autumn breezes startle me and I remember with a shudder, “My God! Work! The People!” And then I rise and produce feverish golden eggs, the fruition of all that reverie, and the world is startled, amused and hates me for it.

The trick I perfected once was to lie on cool grass under a perfect blue sky in a mountain meadow and let the memory of another time on a cool sand beach being lapped by a sleepy wave go through my mind while pulling with it the time I lay in the hammock above the tiled patio at my cousin’s house watching a lizard watch me and then letting the lizard pull in a lazy smoke ring floating over my crib from below a felt hat that covered me with sleep. Yes, this is called “peace knitting,” and it’s an imaginative way to draw together some of your most satisfying moments of deep lazy summer to prolong the one you’re not having. The texture of the peace knitting comes from bringing together similar moments of bliss.

It’s so not Zen this thing. It’s work, actually, the opposite of that laziness people wish for me and for themselves. Everybody’s a workaholic and a worrywart these days, so even good wishes for sluggishness must come with a method. Which is why I give you “peace knitting.”

You can knit other moods, of course. I like “afterglow knitting,” which is made from postcoital blisses.

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