Long hot summer

By Marko Vidojković

“Today afternoon marked the official start of summer, including for all of you who will read this article in the evening or tomorrow. So, happy summer 2023!

This will be someone’s very first summer. They won’t even remember it, just like I don’t remember my first summer, in 1976. It was probably warm, I guess a little less warm than in these modern summers. I wonder what kind of summer it will be like in 48 years for someone who was born the day before yesterday.

The first summers that I clearly remember were hot and unbearable, because I spent them on the ninth, that is the top floor of our building, on 29 Novembra Street, under the flat roof. Although our apartment formally faced east and north, the sun beat down from all sides, throughout the day, and the three of us – my mum, dad and I – felt like rotisserie chickens in it, even when the temperature was 30 degrees Celsius, bearable compared to today’s summers.

In those days, hardly anyone had air conditioning, but we had two options to consider – either buy an air conditioner or suffocate in the heat and exhaust gases coming from the direction of the bus stop, which was later relocated near the Youth Stadium. I can’t remember what were the purchase conditions, but we did buy an Ei Niš air conditioner which, in order to make the summers of the early 1980s more bearable, had to run continuously, with its filter turning black after only two weeks.

For some, this will be their last summer. I don’t want to be the messenger of doom and gloom, but that’s how it goes, so make sure you spend as much quality time as possible with that special person because that will be your last chance to do so. Later, you’ll probably meet that person in your dreams but that’s not the real deal.

Some will spend the whole summer in their hometown, and as someone who has spent two-thirds of his summers so far in Belgrade, I must say this is a great option. Belgrade becomes calmer over the summer. Everyone has left. Judging by the number of people in the streets, summers in Belgrade are like one big night out, but even better, because you can find parking.

This hasn’t changed for decades. In July and August, only those residents who have to or those who love Belgrade stay in the city, while the rest go to the coastline, mountains and villages for two, three, four weeks, and some even longer. All that is left is you and the sound of city buses and trams, the chirping of swallows and the splash of droplets from the neighbour’s air conditioner on your window sill. In the evening it can be a little difficult to breathe, but that is not such a big price to pay compared to how difficult it can be when there are a multitude of people in Belgrade.

I have never spent more than three weeks outside of Belgrade until this year. From February to today, I spent only a few days in it and, I must admit, the change is pleasant, regardless of the fact that I have moved three times in the meantime. If I stop by this summer, I know exactly what awaits me and it will be the first time since 2008 that I will, briefly, rejoice in my hometown.

What are your favourite summers? I like them all. What are your favourite seasons? I like them all.”

(Danas, 21.06.2023)


This post is also available in: Italiano

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