The fat lady ready to serenade the end of summer

August 28, 2012

The fat lady is about to sing. The end of the summer looms large. You can feel it now. You are like a tech with an organ donor cooler in your car. Don’t come too close; watch where you are going. You don’t dare breathe in case some act of God, or even more frightening, Congress, decrees that summer doesn’t come to an end.

The difference in this last week or so is that you are in a weakened condition, maybe from all those green arrows on left-hand turn lanes that allow 2.5 cars through, or the woman behind you honking her horn because you are not pulling out in traffic that is going the speed of light. And your immune system is shot from circling like a 747 in a holding pattern at O’Hare airport looking for a parking space. Eventually you find one, but it is at least two ZIP codes away.

You no longer have any white blood cells; they’ve been left on the road, spilling out of your body after a near miss when someone pulling a boat trailer the size of an aircraft carrier shot from three lanes over and inserted himself in front of you; it goes without saying that there is no signaling.

In fact, you’ve been ready for the end of summer since July, but never really told anyone, just kept it inside where it ate away at you until it blew up one day like an enormous boil and you took it out on a goldfish; you had someone taxidermy done so you could have it forever mounted in your hall. It’s the little things that have driven you over the edge this summer.

But I am warning you to be prepared. Just when you think it is safe to go into the water, just when you think it is safe to go down to the Norman Bates “Psycho” fruit cellar, the last house guests from hell will appear on your doorstep, carrying blow-up mattresses and leading a pack of dogs they found under their home.

Oh yes, they will come unannounced in the middle of the night. Folks you haven’t seen in years, people you met at truck stops on the turnpike, relatives who normally don’t have a pulse, and in-laws still clutching their remote controls, all will descend like a midnight sale on Black Friday.

They will be hauling so much stuff you won’t be able to stand in your living room unless you keep your arms up straight over your head. It will be like living in a subsidized Russian apartment in Siberia.

If they are anything like my son in college, whose idea of advance notice was to call unexpectedly around midnight from an airport in New York when his plane had landed and ask who was picking him up, then you are in for the long haul.

Normally you could handle something like this, but today everyone is stressed out. Now I will say, the last gasp of house guests from hell can be pretty polite.

They understand the tension you’ve been living under just by the way you are wearing your underwear on the outside of your clothes. They had relatives like this; of course they usually house those relatives in the back, not of their house, but their shed.

They always ask if they can use the utilities in your house, which I’ve said is very polite. “Say, can Daryl here use the phone? He has to check in with his parole officer. And that should be every day.” It’s not as upsetting as you think, since Daryl is busy cutting his ankle monitor off.

With a week to go, you have to remember that no matter what, the sun will rise in the morning and set in the evening. So in the words of one of the great philosophers, Matt Lauer, “Move em’ in, move em’ out.”

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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