A Backyard Oasis

It’s summer. It’s hot. Weak chins come out in droves as men shed their beards, and more skin can be seen thanks to crop tops, short shorts and bikinis.

We can sit around the unbearable house being miserable, trying to get the rooms cool with an old, inefficient air conditioner, or we can retreat to our own personal oasis, wherever it may be. Our space might only be a 10- by 10-foot square of green next to our house and have only a view of our neighbor’s driveway, but it’s ours. Ours to utilize how we see fit when we aren’t at work in the cool central air.

This is Providence, the creative capital of the world. Time to get creative.

We put on our new bathing suit. It’s tight and bright and we might have considered shaving or going to the gym in the months leading up, but we haven’t and who the hell cares. We are hot, in both senses. After applying a thick layer of sunscreen, because global warming is real and nobody wants to be as red as a lobster, we venture out into the heat and the sun with our sunglasses on. We’re already looking cooler.

We pull out the kiddie pool, careful not to pass out from inflating it. Our roommate suggested we fill it up with the blowdryer on cool with a straw duct taped to it. (This is why we like them.) Out comes the landlord’s hose. The water is raging hot at first; we use that water to water some weeds. Eventually the water runs cool and we fill our pool.

Our smart roommate again surprises us by bringing out balloons filled with frozen water. Placing the frozen balloons into the kiddie pool will allow us to become HUMAN COCKTAILS. They bob in the water and we are reminded that bobbing for apples should totally be a summer activity as opposed to a Halloween one, which gets our costume wet and ruins our makeup. But like every good cocktail, let’s not forget we need a little plastic weapon. Our weapon of choice is a dollar store water gun. We patrol these parts and don’t take kindly to strangers who don’t bring Narragansett beer or Del’s with them. Or both because we like Narragansett Del’s Lemon Shandy!

When the strangers bearing gifts become friends, we must consider shaking up our human cocktail to create other backyard fun. Thankfully our neighbor just finished remodeling their kitchen and gifted us the leftover plastic drop cloths. We lay them on the ground and run the hose again to make an instant slip and slide. After pretending to be Tom Cruise in Risky Business sliding across the floor to demonstrate the validity of our no-name brand slip and slide, our friends join in. Teams form and variations of childhood games take shape like hot potato, red light green light and duck duck goose. There is a reason children play games: It’s fun! Now that we’re adults who can drink and smoke pot, we can enjoy these simple games on a whole other level. Water just amps it up further. Who says you can’t have fun, on top of fun, on top of fun?

Our neighbor and roommate are now demonstrating the refined act of synchronized slip and sliding. With each go they improve, and so does their score. The Russian judge is still too harsh, although he did bring watermelon soaked in vodka. Next up in the Olympic backyard water sports is bobsledding, followed by the luge and slip skating. No one is quite good at it, but it doesn’t matter; everyone is laughing and everyone is in some form of soaking wet as many didn’t come with swim suits on. America wins the gold because our patriotism is not dead.

The day is waning. The sun starts to retreat behind buildings and trees. The sky turns so many shades of pink we are once again reminded of global warming and pollution, but those thoughts fade because it’s so pretty and looks great with a filter on Instagram. We feel the wind blow against our moistened skin and it feels nice and cool. More friends gather with more beer and are regaled with stories about the day’s adventure, which has left a mess of plastic, water and mud in our backyard. The heat has broken; we have survived another day. It was wonderful and full of friends, laughter and sun. This is our oasis. This is our city. This is our summer.

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