oh how i miss sticky, hot summers. i lived on a sweet little island in new york with one of my oldest friends a few years back. everytime june rolls around i start thinking about that island and that summer- wishing their wasn't so much space between here and there. below is something i wrote while i lived there. . .
The liquor room smells like a crotchety old lady but I have to go in there at least twice a day and to be honest I kind of like the smell, musty and damp, a quick rush of alcohol going to your nose as soon as you enter. It feels safe in there and towards the end of the summer when I start to tire of needy customers I spend more time stocking than I should.
There are cases of beer up against one wall, stacked in towers and hard to get to as if someone started a tetris game with the boxes and gave up halfway through. I can never understand why the Coors Lite is always stocked closest to the wall, buried behind boxes of Amstel and Corona. We go through 12 cases of Coors at least every two weeks and towards the end of the two weeks when there are only one or two cases left I always feel like a child moving the boxes as if they were giant wooden blocks preventing me from getting to the two squares I need. I am sweaty and tired by the end of it but I love the struggle for the strength it gives my upper body. I love using my body again. Using muscles I haven’t needed in years, the muscles in my wrist for opening beer and bottles of wine. The muscles behind my shoulder blades, that I can feel when I carry two full cases of beer from the liquor room to the bar. My legs are getting stronger from standing all day and pivoting and running from one end of the bar to the other without slipping.
Sometimes the Coors Lite doesn’t even last two weeks, due in large part to the carb scare everyone seems overly obsessed with this summer and our kitchen staff-- a group of 12 men all from the same town in Puerto Rico. The men work at the hotel summers and go back and live in Rincon like kings during the year. At least this is what someone in the hotel tells me, although I question the living like kings part, not out loud but it’s an expression that sticks in my head. All of the men have families back in Rincon, wives and children and mothers they take care of and love deeply. Less than half way through the summer it is clear to me that they are working their asses off in the thick sweat of the kitchen not to go back to Puerto Rico and sit fat on a throne, sipping ice cold Coors and waxing their cars, but to see the sweet satisfaction in the faces of those they love when they can buy them anything they want. When I ask, they pull out their fat wallets stuffed with pictures of young wives and sweet looking daughters.
I like the amount of space I have on the island. There is so much outside. And outside there is so much water and sky and land. And I love it all. I love no buildings eating up the skyline and I love being on an island far away from anything I've known for the last six years.