Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Countdowns and Sunbaths

If I wanted to be cool, it only made sense to go outside.

It's not like it wasn't a hot evening when I headed to Scuffletown Park for music, but it sure wasn't 90 degrees, which is what the thermostat read in my apartment when I left. Considering the afternoon high had been 95, the appeal of being outside where it was more like mid-80s and occasionally breezy was wildly appealing.

Despite hoping that the unpleasant heat would make tonight's turnout smaller than usual so I could score a bench close to the band, no such good fortune. I mean, I did luck into a bench but not one of the close ones, which was nonetheless good news since I'm just not willing to sit on the brick walkway like so many late arrivals do.

A band I didn't recognize was doing sound checks when I got there, but after a minute of testing vocals, the singer announced that they'd start playing in four minutes. Not five, four and if that sounds random, it's not. Part of the beauty of Sunsets at Scuffletown is that they begin exactly 30 minutes before sunset (so the start time changes every week) and end, more or less, as the sun sets.

Poetic, isn't it?

That said, the problem with being on a bench midway back in the park is that's hard to hear everything said or sung in the front. Oh, I heard the organizer announce, "Tonight we're counting down to sunset with (mumble, mumble)." So while I have no clue who the band was, I can tell you they had a lead singer, a horn section, a bassist, drummer and a couple of back-up singers.

Meanwhile, the two young women on the bench next to me never even looked up because they were so busy doing a sheaf of shared crossword puzzles from the time they sat down to when the show ended.

I'm going to assume they just wanted live background music for their word play.

Then the lead singer took the mic and announced that, "We're gonna do one long piece of music for the whole time," before the band launched into a comfortable jazz-inflected groove enlivened by strong vocals, not to mention the sheer pleasure of hearing horns played outdoors. It didn't hurt that a decent breeze kept stirring, moving the stale air around as the musicians played on, looking hotter and hotter.

Their salvation is that these shows only last half an hour, so relief is always in sight. Even so, the band members were passing around water bottles throughout the show attempting to cool down.

When their set ended, I made a beeline for the front because I'd seen my friend Xtina come in and sit down on the brick walkway just as the show was starting. Next to her was the Minimalist, whom I've known almost as long. As people were packing up to leave, we three sat down on a bench for a good girlfriend gab session.

Since both of them are introverts, they were congratulating each other on having forced themselves to leave the house and be among people. I told them Pru, also an introvert, refers to this as "peopling" and avoids it, causing them to nod in understanding.

Like me, they both work at home, though this extrovert has no problem seeking out humans on a nightly basis. That discussion led us straight to Myers Briggs and how enlightening it is understand the people in your life that way.

Talking about how we structure our work days at home, I mentioned that I always do my walk as soon as I finish breakfast because it's such a great prelude to whatever I have to do. The Minimalist was fascinated and both said they always feel obligated to jump right into work first thing in the morning.

Take it from someone older and wiser, ladies, you'll get over that.

But after hearing me describe the unique pleasures of beginning every day by the river with the sounds of the falls and rushing water, the Minimalist sweetly asked, "Do you mind if I steal your walk habit?" and asked for suggestions on how to get to the river from her (minimalist) house.

That's when Xtina piped up, telling us she had a vitamin D deficiency, so her doctor had prescribed a daily sun bath of 20 minutes. Although it sounds like something a Victorian doctor would prescribe for a woman recovering from the vapors, I love what a simple Rx it is. She puts on short shorts, pulls up her shirt to expose her midriff and soaks it in.

I recall my doctor complimenting me when she determined I didn't have a vitamin D deficiency - apparently it's pretty common in women - but it's tough to walk outside daily and not soak it up, whether you mean to or not.

So we sat there as the light faded, as two guys got into a shouting match and decided to take it to the streets and as others continued to sit on their blankets to finish their beverages before heading home, talking about the men in our lives, how the scene has changed since we first met and how much more confident we've all gotten as we get older.

By the time we parted company, we felt energized for having run into each other and talking for an hour, plus cooler than when we'd arrived at the park.

I'd like to say that I got home to find my thermostat had dropped, but you don't earn a $28 electric bill that way. Fact is, summer's supposed to be hot, it's healthy to sweat and there's no better time to walk through sprinklers like I did this morning. This is my time of year, so I don't want to hear how miserable you are.

I'm in good company on this one. No one says it better than the Bard: "Summer's lease hath all too short a date."

Sigh. Don't remind me.

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