And just like that, the summer is almost over. I have watched The Virgin Suicides twice last week, because this just happens to be that kind of summer – hot and lolling, indulgent and haunting. It’s an interesting movie; at first, it seems male-gazey as all get out, but this is only if you buy into the narrative setup of object (Lisbon girls)-subject (the neighborhood boys)-narrator (the novel’s auctorial voice). It took me a while to break away from this and to realize that the boys and the narrator are just two middle and superfluous, ego-driven layers of this four-layer cake of a movie – but the Lisbon girls and the film’s director, Sofia Coppola are the id and the super-ego – that is, the things that matter. Both female subjects and the directorial eye are invisible to the men framed by them – they talk about how women are those mysterious, ultimately unknowable creatures, but in doing so they only reveal their own limitations; if we are to stick to the Freudian framework, ego’s understanding capabilities are very limited. Id might be unknowable to it, but not to itself (yes, I know this is not a perfect metaphor; bear with me here).
So it is really a fascinating movie: male narrators and characters spend the entire movie failing to understand and, ultimately, save women around them – women who are mysterious to them but not to themselves or the director or the viewer. Kirsten Dunst and Sofia Coppola both understand Lux; so do we, as viewers. It is ultimately ends up being a very female movie – with men providing much of sound, fury, and confusion and if that is filtered out, we are left with the image of the decaying house, a half-eaten sandwich left on the steps, four girls lolling on the floor, with the sounds of summer coming in distantly from the outside.
My own summer has been a lot busier than I planned, as it is usually the case. There wasn’t much lolling, but I do have new favorite thing: bees. We have started a small apiary for research purposes, and I’ve been spending so much time tending to my hive. Those are Italian bees, beautiful mahogany color, and the honey is slow and golden, and the frames are bending and dripping with it, and wax smells like summer. I want them to survive the winter comfortably, so I’m not taking any honey. Here I am making sugar syrup for them – this is soon after we added a second layer of frames, and the sugar syrup is supposed to increase their wax production.
This is incidentally my new lab. We have moved into a new building, which has a big ass water molecule in front of it. Of course I had to pose with it:
Otherwise, August weather has been shockingly mild for New Jersey. Early in the morning it is cool enough for jackets and long sleeves, and this is when I usually walk to my favorite coffee shop to get a latte and possibly sit down for a while, enjoy my coffee and catch up on Facebook and twitter on my phone (I do not write in coffee shops, mostly because I find them noisy and distracting, and also I resent the thought of carrying my laptop for a few miles.) Afetrward, I continue with my walk – usually 3-5 miles, depending on how quickly the sun warms up. And then I drive to work, where the hive buzzes so beautifully, and I feel like reading nothing but poetry and fashion blogs, and September is way too close.