Monday, August 23, 2010

In Defense of Summertime

I'm having a hard time staying focused.  The Big Cuter is back in San Francisco, preparing for his first day of class.  Mr 5 started kindergarten while I was in New York 10 days ago and the Crayola kids are already playing Fall Ball.  All over the country, people are saying that summer is over..... I'm just not ready for that to be true.

I attended every single meeting of the Board of Trustees of our school district in Marin.  I may never finish the sweater I tried to knit as I listened, but I always listened.  We moved to town in July, and I decided to become involved in my community.  I began with the Design Review Board meetings, but there was too much hostility over the shape of the pavers in a driveway or the exact shade of taupe which might be acceptable to the neighbors for my taste. The School Board was 5 people behind some tables in the middle school library, and 30 or so folding chairs set up between the cookies and coffee and the door.  There were rarely more than 2 of us in attendance - the reporter for the local paper and I becoming friendlier as the years went by.  Those were the halcyon days, when everything was just going along without many hiccups.  Everyone had been there forever and no one made waves.  Of course, no one told me that.  And, true to form, I announced my presence with authority when, at the August meeting, my second, I wondered why school was starting before Labor Day?  Resorts and summer camps and restaurants and beach communities suffer by the shortening of the season and anyway, wasn't there something right and proper about starting school in September? 

My topic wasn't on the agenda; I'd asked during the Open to Comments from the Public section.  They listened respectfully and then agreed that they could answer my question without over-stepping their bounds.  As I said, those were days when the reporter knew when kindness was happening and never mistook a quick response (the starting date is negotiated with the unions in April) for anything more serious than a breach of Robert's Rules of Order.  We all smiled and they moved on to the business at hand but that was the first instance of what became my annual ritual of restating that position.

I think that's why I'm having trouble concentrating.  My inner clock is askew.  Part of it may be the whole travel/jet lag/airplane air/time zone thing and I'm sure a piece is that the boy was here for a week and now is gone, but some of it is this temporal disconnect. I'm not finished with summertime while the rest of the world seems to have moved on to school days.... dear old golden rule days.... while I'm still in those lazy hazy days of summer...... I told you, focusing is an issue right now.

There are school supplies displayed in all the big box stores, but they've been picked over and mis-dis-arranged by eager shoppers.  Each child receives a list of items to be brought to class on the first day of school.  In true kibbutznik fashion, all the shiny new supplies are warehoused by the authorities and are distributed randomly, with no consideration given to the rights of the original purchaser.  This tramples on my sense of the first day of school even more than starting in August.  I love school supplies.  I am particular about my pens and my notebook paper and the quality of the cardboard folders in which I arrange my detritus.  I would not be happy about using someone else's choices........ I guess it's a good thing that I'm not 7 years old any more, then. 

The UofA kids are moving into their dorms this weekend, and the traffic has increased exponentially.  That seems fitting; college always started in August, leaving town early enough for the high school kids to, once again, rule the roost before school began after Labor Day.

I've tried to avoid it, but I can't:  I am sorry to belabor the point..... ouch..... I know..... but this is just one of the many many things about which I feel strongly.  Thanks for listening.

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