At the moment, I'm typing at a mostly-empty tea house in Greenwich Village, the kind of place stuffed with tables and upholstered chairs designed for hours of loitering. In spite of the obnoxious combination of discordant Indie music and the Greatest Disco Hits of 1976 blaring from the speakers, it's a nice writing environment for an August morning. I'm meeting a client here in a few minutes to get started on a new research assistant/proofreading gig, but this moment has all the makings of the beginnings of a perfect New York summer day: an open word document, an iced tea, and the sounds of kids playing in the park across the street.
This is only my second full summer in the city, and the longest (I think?) I've gone without visiting my family in Texas. As much as I love New York, even in the summer when sweat seems to pour from the walls and steam rises from the pavement, this season makes me nostalgic for childhood summers in San Antonio. Things I miss most:
1. Central Air Conditioning. Even though south Texas is significantly hotter than New York most of the year (and nearly as humid), most buildings come equipped with glorious central air. So, like, aside from my summers working at SeaWorld, I mostly just experienced severe heat when walking from one air conditioned place to another. Here in the city, many old buildings have poor air conditioning systems if any, and right now we cannot afford a window cooling unit for our apartment. So ninety percent of the time, I look like a need a shower.
2. The availability of well-made iced tea. In the South, iced tea comes out of the faucets, and every church is required to have it's very own "sweet tay" fountain emitting perpetual streams of tea-flavored sugar water. Even though I never, ever, ever, ever, EVER drink sweetened tea in any form, I miss the wide availability of strong iced tea down south. People look at me funny down there when I ask for the unsweetened version. Even in specialty cafes (like this one), the iced tea tastes watery and yankee-ish. Iced coffee appears to be the beverage of choice in the city, and I love it, but you can't sip iced coffee while relaxing in your rocker on the porch and throwing newspapers at those pesky kids who come too close to your lawn. You need tea.
3. Playing in the sprinkler or hose in your backyard. Water hose + backyard=hours of endless fun. In Washington Heights, I see a lot of kids playing in the water from open fire hydrants, which I guess is the slightly-less-legal* urban version of running around in the garden sprinkler in your "Little Mermaid" bathing suit (or underwear, if you can't be bothered).
I can't wait to visit the land of Bibles, boots, and big hair at the end of the month, but in the mean time I'll just enjoy all the great summer time activities New York City has to offer, and the fact that my husband has a job again, and that I kind of have versions of my dream jobs.
Look for a more literary discussion-oriented post tomorrow. It might involve lions,witches, princes named "Caspian", and/or silver chairs, so get your nerd hats on. (Do we ever take them off?)
*According to poorly cited Internet sources, you may legally use fire hydrant water for recreational purposes by retrieving a sprinkler nozzle cap thing from your local police precinct.