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November 26, 2014
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Summertime, when the livin’ was easy


The summer blockbuster that just came out in movie theaters about the kids and the aliens doesn’t make much sense. I went to a matinee last Sunday. It was playing every hour, the way those big movies do. I left feeling a little let down and overall disappointed.

It just wasn’t... believable.

Don’t you find that the “Summer blockbuster that just came out in theaters” can’t quite live up to it’s own hype? You’ve seen the posters everywhere; you’ve caught those vague TV spots. The pull quotes. That buzz. Spoilers.

It’s the alien parts that don’t do it for me, you know? I’ve seen that before and it was done way better that other time. Actually seeing the aliens always lets you off the hook a little. Much scarier when the extraterrestrial is around the corner and you just hear it getting closer. You hear the many feet on the ground, the breathing, the chewing. In your mind it’s terrifying. Like accidentally dropping an air conditioner on someone’s head.

Last week I found myself up on the east side of Harlem scouting a location for an upcoming shoot. The sun was blisteringly hot. I wore shorts and shoes with no socks. I pulled strongly on the straw of my iced coffee and took a gulp. It was officially summer in NYC. Gershwin was stuck in my head.

“Summertime, and the living is easy.”

I’d never been up to East Harlem before. It’s a whole different city up there. I stuck out like a sore thumb. But no one seemed to care.

There was a fire hydrant open and kids were playing in it. There was a distinct feeling of community as people hung out on the streets. Besides the current summer beat thumping from a passing car, this it could have been a time warp. The kids laughing and splashing around form a mental timeless summer photograph.

Stuff with kids is always great, even in that summer blockbuster that just came out. Kids always have heart, and watching them (be it on screen or in person) usually reminds me of my own nostalgic adventures through Narrowsburg. I have vivid early ‘90s images of walking on the train tracks down to Peck’s, lazy days on the river, solving imaginary mysteries. But alas, no alien invasions.

Back at home, a fan spins back and forth. Back and forth. Oscillating just sounds hot compared to the cool whoosh of an air conditioner. Ours hasn’t been installed yet. It exists; it’s right there in the box by the door. But the dimensions don’t match the new window and the professional is coming the week after next.

It could just be the laziness talking but, as I mentioned earlier, I have fears of installing the air conditioner myself and then killing someone below on the street accidentally a few weeks later. That would ruin both of our summers.

There’s a valuable lesson there: if you wait until the last minute, the air conditioning professionals will be booked and you’ll have to wait longer for them to safely install your AC. Also, steer clear of “The summer blockbuster that just came out in movie theaters” unless you want to treat yourself to a trip down memory lane. That’s just about all they are good for.

But oh, to be a kid during the summer time, those really were the good old days.

Back when we were saving the world from aliens.