plastic summer

Whenever I see sun-drenched, washed-out images like this, I can't help but think of this song. Like the tune, such photos automatically bring to mind memories of wilting in front of fans, feeling the heat rise from the footpaths, aching for the ocean, tasting sweat on your upper lip. Sure, a lot of these things are unpleasant, but their very existence implies greater things that only summer can deliver: quenching that desire for the sea in one glorious dive, walking barefoot through the balmy air of a hot night without the need for a cardigan, embracing the sweat and giving in completely to the all-encompassing feeling of heat. It's a pretty marvellous thing.

The weather is brilliant in its capacity to pardon behaviour that would otherwise be deemed somewhat inappropriate. Like lying on the couch with your housemates all day, taking turns to spray each other with water from a $2.99 Kmart spray bottle, because your beautiful old house is badly insulated and you don't have air con and there's not a damn thing else you can do.

Driving in the summer. Everyone remembers what it was like to take family trips in a car where the air con consisted of four windows wound as far down as they could go and the wind matted your hair and threatened to blow all your eyelashes off while it was at it. Hell, if you're anything like me it's not even a distant memory; who doesn't have a friend who drives a bomb? I reckon Craig here is in a car that would definitely have air con, but perhaps with an eight-hour, hungover drive to Adelaide ahead of him, cool air isn't that great a consolation.

Well it wouldn't be summer in Australia without alcoholic refreshments, and it wouldn't be summer in Melbourne without a bloody beer garden or two. The smoking laws mean that beer gardens are utilised year-round as those craving nicotine are happy to brave the crisp air, even in the depths of winter, in order to indulge the addiction. The upside of this is now we have even more choice when it comes to outdoor drinking in the warmer months. Providing blessed shade while the sun is fiercely high in the sky, the umbrellas soon become redundant as that gloriously gentle setting sun creeps under their domain and bathes the drinkers with an early evening embrace. Warm, golden sun, ice cold cider, the promise of a joyously warm night ahead: is there anything better?

Summer in Melbourne can be pretty ruthless at times, but I say roll with it, take the lows with the highs and give thanks for the kind of conditions that we can only dream of during those brutally icy mid-year months.

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