At long last summer has arrived, which means that the days are sunny, warm and mostly free of rain. June was a very rainy affair, which lead to it being considered un-summerly and generally bitched about, a lot. However, meteorologists claimed that June 2010 precipitation level did not significantly depart from mean values for previous years, decades and centuries. This was the meteorologists (who in Switzerland are called, for some unexamined reason, “weather frogs”) way of saying that people moan and whine about June every year and that they, the professionals of weather, are tired of it and hope that this scientific evidence (June yearly rain averages) will once and for all rid them of these pointless public complaints.
However, people didn’t pay mind; for the majority summer can never come early enough. Finally you can leave your apartment block warren and head for the open streets as well as the beach. It is the open season. You can let the sun bronze you and slightly fry your brain. Dazed by the sun everyday worries seem only half as threatening. You are not trapped in the living room with that old monster, your TV. And sunny late afternoons make leaving the office early appear like the sanest decision ever.
However, weather-related happiness is extremely cyclical and after two or three days of the thermometer topping 27 degrees (or thereabout) the inevitable backlash begins and people, the same folks who were moaning in rainy June, begin raising a stink about the “insufferable heat”, about this being “a freaking oven”, that the sun should “give them a break already”. When the dark anvils of cloud finally begin clapping, they perform a little dance in the rain in plain view, making sure everybody can see how liberal and easy-going they are.
Well, of course there is no such “they”, no person who perfectly fits the stereotype of the meteorological griper but some come close enough and that is all we need to feel a bit better. The idea that somebody could be such a buffoon and that it certainly is not us.
• • •
Here is something curious.
The FIFA, outrageous organization if ever there was one, who has been pointlessly stalling on allowing hawk-eye-grade technology for its referees to replay critical scenes, yesterday had a sudden change of heart. This after numerous absolute referee-decision-fiascos that totally changed the complexion of the World Cup. The technology allows the referees to join the rest of the world in knowing what factually happened in the elite, international, championship games that they are supposed to regulate. The Non-Sensicality of disallowing this earlier abounds.
The curious thing was this: in tonight’s game Spain scored a 1:0 victory against Portugal. The play was a near-off-side one and the re-play was indecisive. However, Swiss TV usually shows the digitally enhanced image running a red off-side line across the pitch so that one can clearly and definitively see if it was a regulation goal or not. Tonight this technology that had accompanied every close-call goal was not used by SF1.
The FIFA has its headquarters in Zurich and its President is the Swiss Citizen Sepp Blatter.
• • •
On Saturday night, the 25th of June, instead of staying in town or going to a near-by forest for our BBQ we decided to head out to a jetty on a castle’s estate’s lake front, Meggen. By the end of a meadow then forest, steeply inclining towards the shoreline. There were few people there: two other couples and a woman, sitting on an adjacent jetty lotus-style, looking out onto the lake and making occasional entries in her diary or spiritual log book. I couldn’t tell.
Darkness fell. No, again. Orange crept across the sky, followed by pink, a royal blue and then a very dark one, just another summer-night’s self-important procession of colors. Meanwhile we had our Grill going, orange-grey-black coals shooting off sparks on invisible roller coasters whenever we fanned them with the aluminum platter. Vegetarian ersatz patties, corn cobs, hollowed out veggies filled with cottage cheese and many other dishes that danced on our palate that evening.
At some point it had become really dark and it was time for what is generally considered “the main spectacle”, the fireworks of the “Lakenight Festival”. Seen from such a far distance they were just small, pathetic blooms of pyrotechnology, as irrelevant as I had always considered them. It made me secretly happy that this event had been shrunk to the true size it had always occupied in my mind. And the explosions’ booms that are otherwise such an offense to civilian ears [and drive domestic animals bonkers] were just faint pops in the distance. Rumors of a public extravaganza too faint to be seriously considered.
What did leave me with my jaw slightly slackened was what followed: a cortege of hundreds of boats of all sizes, each crowned by one red and one white light, returning to their ports of call all along the lake’s four distorted arms. Despite the stagnant, balmy air the waters were agitated as though we, the four of us, were lounging on the coast of a sea or ocean, one wave after another smacking into rock and sending up sweet-water spray to greet the night. The horning of happy boat people. Dark shores in the distance under the rise of an orange moon. Wisps of smoke still hanging in the air above the bay of Lake Lucerne like the ghosts of festivals past.
Then two Securitas showed up and told us very gently to put out the BBQ. They were clearly feeling bad about their duty and we felt bad about them feeling bad. For a moment the night shook with the possibility of an infinite regression.
Yet that was a good Saturday night, delicious and spiced with subtle surprise, I felt.