James Lileks
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August looks big from here. It’s 31 days of summer, the biggest ration we get. Nonetheless, all those plans we had in May for how to spend our endless summer suddenly seem imperiled.

Short, shallow breaths. It’ll be OK. There’s still time to do all the summer-type things, right?

But what if you’re busy? Some entrepreneur should come up with a group package that does all the summer basics in a day. You get bused around with 40 other people, ticking off the requirements.

“Everyone, into the lake! Walk around. Weeds underfoot, right? Eww! OK. Out of the lake.

“Into the hammocks! Everyone have their tall drink, glistening with beads of lemonade? Cock your straw hat over your eyes and smile, dreamily, as we listen to the ballgame. And ... relax. You have five minutes.

“Back in the bus! We’re off to that cafe you read about in the glossy magazine at the dentist’s office, in the Top Five Outdoor Seating feature. We will have 15 minutes to enjoy outdoor urban dining, seven of which will be spent noticing how the table legs aren’t level on the pavement and maybe someone should shim them with a matchbook but no one smokes anymore. Try the okra guacamole. Better yet, try pronouncing okra guacamole.

“Back in the bus! We’re going to DQ to speed-suck some slushes to simulate the sensation of a cerebral hemorrhage, and then we are going to the Sculpture Garden. It’s like a museum, except you need sunscreen.

“Everyone get their ‘Spoonbridge’ selfie? Tagged it ‘Best Summer Day Ever’? Good. Now we’re going on a road trip. We will be driving from Prior Lake to Subsequent Lake, and traffic will be heavy; we’ll start arguing about the radio station in 10 miles.”

And so on. If it sounds like a vacation excursion, well, that’s what it would be. But just like everyone who takes the day trip on the bus through Rome tells themself they’ve been to Rome, this would let you say, “I had a good summer.”

Or you could let it play out as it always does. Was there a warm, sunny day when you heard the cicadas? Was there a thick, hot night when you heard the crickets? Was there a drive home from work when the great, green world felt like it had been like this forever?

Then you had a good summer. But that’s a verdict you can pronounce in a month.

For now? August awaits — and here’s hoping it’s miserably hot and humid. That way we’ll be glad when it’s over, and we can start worrying about having the perfect Christmas.

james.lileks@startribune.com • 612-673-7858 • Twitter: @Lileks • facebook.com/james.lileks