Thursday, June 24, 2021

Life & Style

There’s Something about the Solstice

The car behind me is so close I can’t see the headlights in my rear view. I’m on my way to work and am a little early, so I’m in no rush. I am doing the speed limit, however. There’s no reason why the car behind me should feel compelled to kiss my rear bumper, but there it is, up close and personal. A light up ahead turns yellow and is red by the time I get up to it. I stop. Even though it seems physically impossible, the car behind me manages to creep even closer. Will it end up in my backseat before the light turns green? If it could, it would.

The light is green and before I have the chance to tap the gas I hear a loud beeeeeeeep! I look to my left and inch forward. I’m not trying to be a jerk, I’m just trying to make sure someone else isn’t going to slam me from that side. Sometimes people don’t stop even though they’re supposed to stop. I always take a precautionary peek.


I push on the gas and resume my going-at-the-speed-limit pace. The car behind me resumes its tailgating. There better be someone in that car about to give birth. There better be a reason for the rushing other than someone just being a jerk. The car pulls into Dunkin’ Donuts.

Maybe not.

Then again, maybe there is a reason. People seem to get amped up around the time of the summer solstice. I’m not one of those people who gets excited about the solstice, thinking it means something besides nice long days. However, could there be something to it? Could it be the reason why people seem a little crazed lately?

At night there’s screeching outside my bedroom window and I’m not sure if it’s a couple of foxes, raccoons, or fisher cats. All I know is that it’s so loud, I need the fan on to sleep. I also don’t know if they’re having too much fun or not enough. It’s tough to tell. Even the animals are amped up, it seems.

I wake up in the morning bleary-eyed and feeling like I slept on my head. The fan is nice, but maybe it doesn’t totally drown out the noise. Did the animals cause me to only get a thrashing, restless, semi-sleep? Or is this another by-product of the solstice, this feeling like my neck and shoulders could use a deep-tissue massage by a George Clooney look-a-like?

I meet Neutron at a local spot for an official-start-to-summer drink. We’re seated next to a group and everyone is laughing heartily and having a great time. This is always a nice thing to see. Summer causes everyone to emerge from hibernation and meet up with friends. It’s the chance to go somewhere and hang out without freezing to death as you try to get there. No parka required.

I order Asian calamari because it sounds delicious and light. Summer food. Someone from the group asks me what it is and I tell him.

“Angel?” he asks.

“No, Asian.”

“Angel?” he asks again.

The place is lively so it’s hard to hear.

“Asian,” I repeat, louder.

“Oh!” he says. “I thought you said angel and that’s funny because, you see, I am an angel. Can you see my halo?”

“It’s a little crooked.” Neutron fires out this reply like a Fourth-of-July bottle rocket before I can even think to say anything. I’m still groggy from sleeping on my head.

The entire place is buzzing and everyone is talking excitedly with their hands like they’re in a Godfather movie. Maybe it’s the solstice. Maybe it’s just the fact that summer has finally arrived on the calendar after a brutal winter. Whatever the reason, I can appreciate what this time of year brings out in people, whether it’s calling themselves angels or gesticulating wildly during conversation. I can even deal with the yelling of wild critters in the yard.

Just don’t kiss my bumper, please.

Juliana Gribbins is a writer who believes that absurdity is the spice of life. Her book Date Expectations is winner of the 2017 Independent Press Awards, Humor Category and winner of the 2016 IPPY silver medal for humor. Write to her at Read more of her columns at

Juliana Gribbins is the Columnist for Zip06. Email Juliana at .

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