Summer goes too fast.
Time seemed slower in, say, my twenties and thirties. After a day at work, I’d change into gym shorts, take a run, come home, make a cup of tea, and retire to the air-conditioned bedroom. I read intensely in the evenings: Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, Elizabeth Taylor’s novels, Bobbie Ann Mason’s short stories, the latest Updike… The hours sometimes dragged, but there were a lot of them.
Now I feel I’ve lost control of time. There should be more time, and yet there’s less. We live for summer here. So why is it speeding by? I loved the long days in an unusually cool June. But during this hot July, where DOES the time go?
Well, I know one magic trick. If you sit very still outdoors in the shade and read your book, you can achieve what I call the Queen of the Desert effect (not actually going to the desert, just watching the movie with Nicole Kidman looking cool as Gertrude Bell.) It’s just so damned hot that you transcend the heat and disappear into the world of your book. Of course sometimes you’re miserably hot and have to go indoors.
Here’s another way to extend time: read short books. If you read more books, you feel you’re using your time better. (It’s an illusion.) I’ve raced through a couple of novels by Booker Prize winner Penelope Lively, one of Josephine Tey’s mysteries, and am thinking of hunkering down with Gene Wolfe’s The Claw of the Conciliator, the second volume of The Book of the New Sun.
This weekend it’s supposed to get up to 100 degrees.