Memorial Day is in the rearview. This officially marks the beginning of summer. The beaches are packed. The pools are open. It's finally, truly hot. I step outside to have my morning cigarette and the heat is oppressive. The sun is blinding. Who really enjoys this weather? Summer is like Mother Nature on a three month coke binge. It's fun, but it's fleeting. The exhausting nature of it overrides any of its most redeeming qualities.
Sure, higher temperatures and longer days afford a wealth of possibilities. I'm certain that summer is when everyone has the most sex, spends the most money and gets the most intoxicated. Life becomes a scene from The Wolf of Wall Street. But that shit takes a toll on you. At some point, you need gray skies and cold weather. It humbles you. It keeps you focused.
It's impossible to concentrate in the summer. Every second is occupied by this suffocating pressure to go somewhere and do something. Everyone wants to eat on a fucking patio, or run in the park, or some other bullshit that people feel obligated to do just because it's nice outside. And I get it. Nice weather is...nice. I was a kid who got yelled at if I stayed inside playing video games too much during the summer. My parents would be like, "Get the fuck out of the house and play some basketball or something." And I respect that. A lot of the best shit that's ever happened to me happened during the summer. But it's not my preference.
Nothing about summer compares to driving through icy, quiet streets on a late, dark winter night when your car is a sleek beast transporting a covert assassin. The snow building, taking up space on its exterior only adds character. In the summer, your car is a ticking time bomb. With every entry, you're subjected to a muggy interior, scorching leather seats and boiling metal that will leave you burnt like Kevin Spacey in Pay It Forward.
You never get to wear your best coats and boots and sweaters. While there is no doubt an appeal to the no nonsense minimalism of T-shirts and jeans, it's monotonous as shit. The weather has no diversity, no personality. It's not real. It feels like you're living in The Truman Show, on a sound stage where the cameras will come out at any moment to tell you that this is, in fact, not reality.
People act like summer is all fun and games, but you still have to work and live and that's hard as fuck to do in Dante's Inferno.
I lived in Los Angeles for eight months last year and it was great and I loved it as much as any city I've ever been to and I've been playing Grand Theft Auto V lately and it's making me miss a lot of things about the West Coast, but I don't really miss the weather. I miss the mountains and canyons and Hollywood and palm trees and congested freeways, and yes, the weather is objectively flawless, but I don't connect with it. 75 and sunny every single day has no depth. It's a Twilight Zone-esque climate of mystery where you lose your identity after being stuck in a trance where no day has meaning or consequence and is a bland continuation of existence.
I moved back to New York in January and there was a massive blizzard the first day I returned. Yeah, it was difficult, but it was authentic. My car was only accustomed to speeding down the likes of Sunset Blvd. and then, all of a sudden, I had it swinging around slick corners in Bed-Stuy. It was perfect. Now we've arrived at summer and those same blocks are ridden with human activity and there are more police out than ever and it's all just so stressful.
It's different here because L.A. has summer weather all year. L.A. made me keenly aware of my fundamental issues with that type of weather itself. New York adds a societal, cultural context to weather that makes it even more unbearable. Because this city does have deathly cold winters, summer is so much more of a "thing." Everyone views it as this "new start," and with it comes this perverse energy that exacerbates the twistedness of the city. That's my issue. I don't need New York’'s eccentricities forced upon me, and summer does that. I would rather those quirks develop organically and thoroughly—as they do in winter—not superficially. You can make the argument that everyone looks hot and no one is wearing any clothing and there's so much more to do, but that's not that big of a draw for me. Not here.
You can see the steam rising from the streets in this swamp of concrete. The trash piles up. The subway is a fucking torture chamber. You sweat constantly. Surfaces are slimy. Unidentifiable green ooze collects at every street corner. It's uncomfortable. You can feel it in the letter that David Berkowitz wrote from "the gutters of NYC." You can hear it in Lana Del Rey's "Summertime Sadness." There's disillusionment with the fact that sunshine does not necessarily equate to all the smiles and happiness it's perceived to. People act like summer is all fun and games, but you still have to work and live and that's hard as fuck to do in Dante's Inferno.
Whenever people complain in the winter, I want them to step back and appreciate what they have. Wait until perspiration soaks through your clothing daily. Wait until humidity violates you repeatedly. Wait until your electric bill is ten million dollars because any moment without freezing artificial air is unacceptable. Wait until you have to navigate the thick crowds of people who are finally brave enough to come outside. It's a battle you cannot win. Winter is different. You bundle up. You’'e prepared. In the summer, you aimlessly wander. You're out in the open. You're vulnerable.
I've always been partial to the season when football and basketball is on: the fourth quarter. You get a bonus. The best albums are released. The biggest movies come out. There's Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year's Eve. The year changes. It's beautiful. It's so much more fulfilling than the mindless void of summer. There's time and space to think. My girl is actually yelling at me right now because she wants to go to the beach and I don't want to do shit. This wouldn't be an issue if it was 0 degrees out. I miss the calm. I miss winter.
Ernest Baker is being hated by the seasons, so fuck y'all who hating for no reason. Follow him on Twitter here.