We live near the beach, so the end of May is a time to perform sacred rituals. Pools are topped off, beach chairs are dusted off and barbecue grills are scrubbed roughly with stiff wire brushes.
I have my own ritual. I wait for the first Saturday with a temperature that rises above 80 degrees. I peek out the windows until I see the street filled with the right mix of neighbors washing their cars and playing with their children. Then, with a jumble of confidence and trepidation, I march outside, doff my shirt and expose my white winter belly for the first time in the season.
I believe my neighbors look forward to this annual event, the same way that other people anticipate Groundhog Day. I have no evidence of this, but I like to think it anyway.
Later, before I’ve achieved my inevitable Flounder look – fierce, bubbly red on my back and titanium white on my front – I’ll march down the neighborhood streets in shorts and flip flops. Children will gasp in amazement when they see legs so white that they look like movie star teeth.
Summer, my friends, has officially begun.