Column: Time to sit back and unwind? Hardly!

Usually when the days get shorter and the nights cooler, I get a little sad that my longtime favorite season is coming to an end.
Not this year. This is the year I declare summertime officially over. Not over as in back-to-school time over, I mean Two and a Half Men with Ashton Kutcher as the leading man now over (or, the career of Mr. Kutcher’s predecessor over).

For the first time in my life, I am ready to embrace autumn, dropping temperatures and all.

Vera Chinese

For the non-believers out there, here is a list of reasons why I think the season of leisure has lost its luster.

1. Feeling guilty about being lazy.

June, July and August on Long Island mean an inevitable influx of concerts, barbecues and festivals — almost none of which I have any desire to attend. I feel like I should want to go to these things, after all organizers put a lot of effort into them and people always look like their having fun in photos, but I really don’t.

Sometimes on the weekend I just want to stay in, watch an entire season of Breaking Bad in one day and not feel like I’m missing out on something. I am looking forward to crappy weather when doing nothing is not only accepted, it’s expected.

2. Driving around without air conditioning

Owning a car that was built in the previous millennium has its drawbacks, not the least of which is having a busted AC. Rolling down the windows is a fine alternative, that is, until driving through Aquebogue and the smell of duck farm comes wafting through your nose. I won’t be missing that sensation. Or the feeling when a scorching seat belt buckle sears a mark into your exposed leg.

3. Freezing cold offices, movie theaters and supermarkets

Now, as I said in the previous item, I am all for a comfortable temperature. However, I’d say most of these indoor places are unbearable in the summer. I’d like to enjoy the fresh air and have open windows, not spend three months in a meat locker. Especially when I am dressed for 85-degree weather. Apparently, I’m in the minority on this one.

4. Clear roads

Ask any East Ender what is the worst part of the summer and nine times out of 10 you know what they’ll say? Traffic. I am excited about once again getting from one end of Route 58 to the other in less than 20 minutes.

Was it me, or was the traffic light at the intersection of Route 25 and Manor Road in front of the Splish Splash entrance only green for about 13 seconds at a time this summer?

Once fall hits I don’t have to worry about a line of cars backed up on Main Road. Just getting stuck behind a tractor during harvest time, which at least has some charm to it. Adios seasonal visitors. Thanks for all the money.

5. Yard maintenance

Every day after a long shift as a FedEx driver, my dad, who is now retired, would immediately throw on his stained green sneakers, rev up the mower and take care of the lawn. I used to think it was because he was a crazy person. Now I understand that if you don’t force yourself to maintain the yard before you settle in, it could go all week without getting done.

I’ve also learned that lawns are not only time consuming, they’re expensive and bad for the environment. Wait, so why do we even have them?

Oh, right, the fact that it’s embarrassing to have the worst grass on the block. Trust me, my better half and I would know.

There you have it. Yes, summer means sunny days, trips to the beach and in-season fruits and veggies, all wonderful things. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s lost its number 1 spot on the season list.

Here’s a little secret that locals have known for ages — early-to-mid autumn is the best time on eastern Long Island. The temperature is crisp, skies are blue, pumpkins are ripe and everything is just a little, well, quieter.

I hereby officially proclaim fall the best season of the year.

Now if only September didn’t coincide with my least-favorite time on the calendar — football season.

Ms. Chinese is a staff writer and Times/Review Newsgroup’s associate web editor. She can be reached at [email protected] or 631-298-3200, ext. 232.

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