Porch Time

June 14, 2013 at 2:12 pm (Uncategorized)

This one is from deep, deep in the archives. Seriously, it’s twenty years old. And other than the fact that I am now one of those “matrons” rushing around, the horror! my opinion hasn’t changed in the slightest.

In summer, every neighborhood has one perfect porch, one place to which the whole flock of friends migrates. Perhaps it is the coolest, being conveniently shaded on three sides by artfully planted trees. Perhaps it is the most comfortable, boasting two easy chairs, a sofa, AND a hammock. Or perhaps it is the most central, the point where all the radii converge and no one is more than five minutes away. Most likely it is a combination thereof, with an indefinable x-factor thrown in to confuse the issue. It has something to do with whose porch it is, although one is never quite certain to whom the perfect porch belongs. Somewhere in the menagerie of sun-browned skin, sweaty limbs holding sweatier beer bottles, and plastic debris from a carton of flavor-ice popsicles, lurks a host or at least someone who answers the phone, but it is enough that the porch be provided, and questions of ownership are relatively unimportant, as are questions of aesthetics. Some of the most perfect porches I have known were much less appetizing than the Better Homes and Gardens model across the way, yet that one porch on the block always attracts a gathering of friends, no matter how homely it is.

Porch utopia has something to do with the way lazy talk, and lazier silence, float on the fan-made breeze; the way people drop by to say, “hi,” and six hours later bashfully shuffle down the steps, mockingly shouting to one another, “what a waste of a day/afternoon/evening,” all the while aware that they will be back tomorrow. This is no gathering of stiff-assed matrons who wait to be offered tea before politely declining and rushing off to the next destination on their list of things to do. This is summer in a college town, and none of us has anything better to do, or any place better to be, than the front porch.

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