Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Great Gatsby and the Heat of June

Today was a scorcher – relatively speaking – for us Long Islanders who have had little prelude to summer. Our pool was not yet open and the air conditioning not ready to be turned on. My bicycle had a flat tire.

We took turns putting our feet in the baby’s kiddie pool, which is about one yard in diameter. When she got tired of it, we dumped it for safety’s sake.

Then we could think of nothing to do. A rarety for us! My husband was out in the yard mowing, soaking in the rays and uncomplaining.

This morning we had purchased a student desk from our neighbor who was moving. I told my eldest daughter, the recipient, to spray it down with Liquid Gold before bringing it in. I think the polish got all over the front porch and we all brought it in on our feet, because later on the front hallway felt slippery. I gave it a quick mop, which I believe spread the Liquid Gold in a thin sheen that spread across the entire floor, which runs the length of my house from front to back.

When the baby got up from her nap, she noticed the floor looked wet, and was wisely hesitant to walk on it. I told my 9-year-old daughter to mop the floor with soap. Still the floor was slippery. Then my 11-year-old daughter mopped it, to no avail. So the baby was stuck in the living room, as were we.

Everyone was complaining.

“It’s too hot.”

“I’m too tired.”

I thought of the long, boring chapter in The Great Gatsby in which Nick accompanies his bickering acquaintances to a hot, upper-story apartment in a non-descript part of town. They are all sitting around, drinking cocktails and getting on each other’s nerves. I remember reading that in high school and not being able to make much sense out of that particular chapter. When I reread it last year, the long, drawn-out scene still irritated me and eventually put me to sleep.

As I thought of that, I wondered how I could put this story into my blog, and what moral I could tell with it. Could I write myself a lesson to get out of my own unpleasant mood?

I could think of nothing, and our own long, drawn-out scene soon played itself out. The shade appeared and we were able to enjoy the backyard once again. We barbecued and put the baby to bed. The kids were ordered to watch “Snow White”, as a lesson on how to “whistle while you work”, while I gave the floor the most elbow-grease it has gotten in a year.

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings.” Phillipians 2:14

You can read "The Great Gatsby", by F. Scott Fitzgerald, online at this link.

1 comment:

Loren Christie said...

Sometimes life has dry spells. There is a story in them too. Fitzgeraled was making an analogy involving the trip into the city and the wasteland created by the shift toward industrialization and materialism. This is one of my favorite books! -Loren