Ah, summer. It is Sunday, the quietest days Strašnice has to offer. I’m sitting on the patio at Café Vinice, the shade under the big awning sufficient to allow me to see the screen while the sun shines brightly on the purple-leaved trees in the little landscaped square.
I have only just settled in; my resolution: Get Serious. Before I do that, however, it is worth noting a couple of things — things I’ve said before and will certainly be saying again. I should probably give these principles a name, a shorthand to allow me to repeat myself without sounding repetitions. With the right code word the repetitions become a pleasure in themselves, a secret shared among the initiated.
First, beer is better when consumed outdoors. This principle extends to other beverages as well, but a chilly beer shares a special relationship with the sun and the breeze, a kinship that no other beverage can match. The lager I am drinking now was invented in the chilly caves around Plzn, and it is that residual chill and shadow that mixes so perfectly with a warm day.
Second, there is nothing a girl can wear (including nothing) that is sexier than a miniskirt. I get angry just imagining the day fickle fashion steals from me the simple pleasure of appreciating a graceful form shrouded in exactly the right amount of mystery. (That could also describe my favorite writers, and is the goal I set for myself.)
I’ve mentioned all of that before. One other thing — insignificant compared to those two — that is contributing to my current sanguinity: A nice, breathable wicker chair. Sometimes the things you barely notice at all (not because they are functioning poorly but because they are functioning especially well) are the ones that make the difference between a nice afternoon and an exceptional one. For instance, if I was wearaig sandals right now, I probably wouldn’t notice, but I’m not wearing sandals and I do know my feet are hot. Perhaps the imperfection (hot feet) makes the rest of the goodness graspable.
Shade, sun, trees, breeze, miniskirts, the arrival of my second beer (service oddly friendly today), finishing a thought-provoking book and settling in to see where those thoughts lead. I’ve been over all that stuff before. What’s the word, then, I can use as a shorthand, the sign I can use to wrap up all those feelings into a complete idea?
Maybe this one: Summer. Summer spoken in a reverent, Tom Sawyer voice, when the livin’ is easy — a time when it’s OK to be happy, to appreciate the good life and the wicker chair.