Sitting at a local tutoring center a few weeks back, I realized, looking at all the ADD-rattled heads bobbing about, that these little fuckers are about to get a couple months off. I asked one what he was going to do, and he said, “Watch Extra.”
Really? It made me immediately jealous of the unencumbered freedom ahead of them—and how they would squander it away on days of TV, video games and Totino’s pizza rolls.
Remember that feeling? That giddy anticipation of an empty, lazy summer ahead, with nothing to do but bike, swim and generally feel good and have a good time? Summers filled with the clink of a bat hitting the ball? Fresh food from the grill? Sitting on porches and rooftops? That first whiff of fresh saltwater as you head out of the oppressive city toward a weekend of sleeping late, sunbathing and 5 p.m. cocktail hours?
Or, as a girl I used to work with, said to me on a rooftop smoke break before our catering gig started in college, “I love Iowa City in the summer,” she said, blowing smoke out as we perused the green trees, impossibly warm, clean air and setting sun. “All the idiots leave town.”
It’s true that many of the best things in life are wasted on the young, but the Swedes and other Europeans have it right…whilst the getting’s good (aka warmth and sunshine), get out there and make good of it.
We, Americans, work too hard. I don’t care what anyone says about falling behind in technology, etc., which is true, but not due to us grinding away our little hamster wheels on tedious tasks. Just because we work more total hours doesn’t mean we work smarter…ask any German. They are the poster kids of efficiency yet still manage to take five to six weeks of holiday good times every year. And, no, familial obligations, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, do not count.
I’ll take this one better than a vacation…how about a permanent change? I posted this article about Guatemala last week, which made me want to get on that ex-pat lifestyle pronto. After spending 10 days in Honduras, visiting with other ex-pats, who seem to be getting by just fine without cable TV and gym memberships, I am ready to ditch this American Life. But that is a dream that must be a little deferred for now…until I can wrangle up the means to go forth.
So, I am a little down upon that return and summertime getting rolling. Because there is one thing I will miss about the East Coast—and that is restorative hang-time with friends at the beach and near the water. The beach houses and the lovely little cabins that have sheltered our many nights of doing pretty much nothing at all. Last summer before I left, we sat on the front porch and watched a thunderstorm roll through for hours. And ate ice cream. That’s it. And it was fantastic.
See, the West is the Best Coast for many a reason, but when it comes to a nice, hot summer day on the beach? Well, I will have to wait to August for my day in the sun. I was a little sad when I had to put my swimsuits away post-Honduran vacation.
And then my break of sunshine came through the clouds…a midsummer roadtrip with one my best friends on the Pacific Coast Highway, from San Fran to L.A. I’ve always wanted to do this, and now I can, in less of a Thelma and Louise way, without the attempted rape and killin’ and driving off a cliff parts, and more sitting in hot springs and eating at killer restaurant parts.
So, yeah to summer breaks and trips and all that goodness—and making some adult summer break plans that do not involve more TV, processed food, staring at your laptop, or Disney of any sort. Trust, you will not go to the grave wishing you’d spent more time in your cubicle.
Cheers to the nonofficial start of summer, starting now.