Posted May 9 ’13

People, people!   Once again you’ve been bombarding me with notes and letters.  This time you’re begging me to define for you the perfect summer.   Not an easy assignment.  There are a lot of tenants living in my head, every one of them a fourth generation California native.  They’re an opinionated group, stubborn and prone to infighting, and each has a different perspective on what makes summer so special in this Golden State.  Rather than trying to force a general consensus I decided let them speak for themselves.  I hope this helps you.


Nature Girl

I am a serious, self-described, backcountry survivalist and for me summer is all about the snake.  Foxes, skunks, coyotes, deer, even the occasional mountain lion—these are year-round companions on my daily hikes through the Santa Monica Mountains.  But only during the hot weather do I get the lucky glimpses of the Pacific rattlesnake.  I’ve seen babies slithering into holes and I’ve backed away from the big boys, as thick as my forearm, sunning themselves on rocks.  And more than once I’ve flat-out run from the angry rattle of a coiled snake.  That scream?  That’s a special greeting taught to me by ancient backcountry experts.  It is not a shriek of fear.  No way.  The scream is my way of showing respect.


The Ex Bodybuilder

For many, bathing suit season is a terrifying time of year.  Emergency crash diets, cellulite treatments, spray tans.  Intricate cover-up strategies involving flowing sundresses, baggy t-shirts and cargo shorts can make the warmer months most stressful. But as a former bodybuilder (Ms. 1992 Southern California Champion) I can tell you that for the gym rat it’s all about the itsy-bitsy bikini.  She trains hard all year, living on egg whites and steamed vegetables, so that when the sun does finally break through the June gloom she’s ready.  And she’s got a bikini for every day of the week.  Watch her parade up and down the beach.  Yes, it’s really fucking annoying. Don’t worry.  I’ll be sitting with you, up under an umbrella.


The Surfer

Southern Hemis. Giant south swells and the air is thick with salty mist from the crashing surf.  Slashed tires, broken windows, and “locals only” painted on the windshields of unlucky visitors.  Mounds of seaweed piled up on the wet sand.  Broken boards get washed up on shore.  Someone’s got a fire going.  People on the beach cheer as a guy attempts a late takeoff and gets pitched over the falls onto the reef.  A fight breaks out in the water.  Double-overhead waves and the energy is tribal.  It’s a perfect day at Point Dume.


The Shrew-Fishwife

Bad feet. They come out when the weather warms up.  You see them on the beaches, walking on the sidewalk, relaxing on the empty chair next to you at the organic juice place.  But with flip-flops, peep-toe platforms, Tevas, strappy Louboutins, Chacos, huaraches, and especially those Roman sandals, comes responsibility.  If you’re going to show them, you’ve got to take care of them.  Scrub those grimy toes, tend to your cuticles, clean and cut your toenails.  Those disgusting yellow calluses have got to go.  Get it together, people.  Otherwise you’ll have to keep your socks on–and it’s going to be a long, hot summer.


And finally, thankfully:

The Writer

For me it’s pretty much year round low clouds and fog with the occasional afternoon clearing.  Once in a while the sun shines down on my desk and that’s when the magic happens.  Those brilliant moments of light are my perfect summer.