Take It Easy

The sun is out, the surf is up and it’s a beautiful Southern California day.

That’s right, we might be plagued by earthquakes and gridlock, but when the elements align, which is nearly every day, when you get behind the wheel and crank up the radio, you feel like a million bucks.

So I just went for an MRI at Kerlan-Jobe, for a hip injury that occurred skiing the ice two and a half years ago, I’m wondering what is causing the pain at this late date, and after lying in the tube for forty five minutes running every sexual fantasy possible through my brain to avoid concentrating on the fact that my ankles were Velcroed and my knee hurt I emerged into the sunlight to “Take It Easy” on the satellite.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the last week of August. Used to be school was taboo. That week was taken up with recovering from summer exploits, before classes resumed after Labor Day. I’d come home from New Hampshire or Europe and immediately drive to Korvette’s to buy the latest albums, to catch up on what I missed when I was away.

And that’s where and when I bought the Eagles’ debut.

But it wasn’t only that, but Sly & the Family Stone’s “Fresh,” and a bunch of other records that I’d spin incessantly my first few weeks back at college in Vermont, where before you knew it, you were in the doldrums of November.

But it’s different out here. The doldrums never appear. It rarely rains on your parade. And with no one asking where you went to college, never mind what you scored on your SATs, you’re free. And that’s what I love so much about SoCal, the right to be me, to live with a lawn and a car in a city where you may be unable to park, but at least you don’t feel closed in.

So the world is blowing up, people’s rights are being challenged, opportunity is rare, yet when you emerge from your house into the SoCal sunniness you can’t help but smile and be optimistic.

Never underestimate the weather.

Yes, it’s weird how the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder. It’s like we’re beginning a four month run to Christmas, soon we’ll all be in front of the fire sipping hot cocoa.

But not me!

It’s the time of year when the Doors’ “Summer’s Almost Gone” goes through my brain.

It’s the time of year when the boys of summer make their last pilgrimage to Malibu, before everybody hunkers down and gets serious.

And it’s the time of year when “Maggie May” no longer resonates. Yup, for decades I was haunted by Rod Stewart’s refrain that it was late September and I really should be back in school. But no more!

You see I’ve broken free. I am who I am, the story cannot be rewritten. And whether I’m happy with what’s inscribed in the book of life or not there’s nothing I can do about it other than put on my sunglasses, slide back the sunroof and turn up the radio.

So, so long summer 2014. It was hotter than usual in my house without air conditioning but I won’t be worrying about it for long.

So long hot summer nights where I could bask in sunlight ’til nearly nine.

And so long to the pressure to find a song of the summer, to make the most of the few months off.

Because in the modern world you’re never off, you’re on all the time, tethered to your devices, working to stay ahead of the man.

But the truth is I’m on an endless vacation. I listened to Jan & Dean, I got the memo, I came out west to live the Beach Boys’ lifestyle and found out…


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