Sitting on the grassy banks of Lake Wauberg, you wonder silently to yourself about the weather. The gusts of late October wind are warm but only mildly. They tell you all you need to know: Summer is ending. Florida is slow to chill but that now seems inevitable. Through the darkened lenses of your sunglasses you can see the sun already retreating at 4 p.m. You remove your shades. For the past week, cold fronts have stalked the summer heat like a tiger in the bush, waiting for a lull to go in for the kill — leaving the throne empty and ready for autumn.
The signs of seasonal change are all around you. Pumpkin spice is back in fashion. Your roommate has a two-pound loaf of pumpkin bread sitting in the refrigerator at home, which she bought at a pumpkin patch that sprung up near your house last week. Your very in-fashion friend has been wearing burnt orange, vermilion and persimmon since September. You cannot differentiate between the shades of orange but smile and nod politely as she monologues excitedly about bittersweet shimmer and atomic tangerine.
Deep down, you mourn summer’s passing. You missed wearing flip flops to class and lying out by the pool. Spooktober memes just won’t fill that hole in your heart. The fond summer memories evaporate as you walk mouth-first into a Florida summer staple: a buzzing cloud of tasteless gnats. Instead of expletives, you sputter and cry out:
Darts and Laurels
The end is upon us. Not just the end of summer, but the end of cannabis prohibition in Canada. Wednesday was the first day of legal sales there. Canadians waited for hours in line to get their first taste of state-sanctioned cannabis smoke. A countdown party in Toronto was comparable in scale to that of a New Year’s countdown party. Canadians symbolically lowered a large bud of cannabis (which was really a gargantuan wad of what looked like green crumpled paper) at midnight the evening prior to legal sales.
It looked more like a sickly jalapeño, but we applaud the Torontonians for their gumption and initiative. We accordingly bestow a laurel to the sculptor of the misshapen pepper.
The largest producers and growers of the drug in Canada are now valued in the billions, according to The New York Times. The world cannot know what lies in wait for Canada — what economic, cultural, spiritual and gastronomical impact legalization of cannabis will undoubtedly have. We cannot help but wonder about what type of pancakes the first bottles of cannabis-infused maple syrup will be used on. We ponder about how much more relaxed and polite Canadians will become, if such an improvement is even possible.
A laurel is awarded to Canadian Parliament for having the good sense to legalize the recreational use of the drug. A second laurel is proffered to the brave souls who waited in line in a freezing Canadian October to make their historic purchases. A dart to the U.S. for lagging morally and continuing to wage a war on drugs.
In more serious news, the alliance between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia is starting to show cracks after new and more gruesome evidence of Jamal Khashoggi’s killing was revealed. Khashoggi was a prominent Saudi dissident journalist who lived in Virginia and contributed for The Washington Post. He walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Two hours later, he was dead, dismembered and beheaded, according to The New York Times. Audio recordings described by the Turkish government purportedly show that 15 Saudi agents, some with ties to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, were waiting to murder him when he arrived.
It is hard to overstate how odious, vile, ruthless and cruel this killing was. There are no laurels involved here. Only darts for the Saudi government and the agents who committed murder under the guise of nationalism or pretense of duty.
If we do not levy heavy sanctions against Saudi Arabia, it will send a message that the U.S. does not protect its own dissident journalists. Maybe the end will be upon us after all.