It’s time for another edition of “Weekend Assignment“:
In just a couple weeks, students will be heading back to school. Share with us what that means in your life. Are you currently shopping for school supplies for the students in your life? Are you planning on going back to school? Maybe everyone around you is rushing to get ready for the new school year, but you can sit back and relax. Tell us what that’s like.
Extra Credit: Tell us what you liked the most and disliked the most about the first day of school!
Dear little B.T., of course, is still new to the world – he won’t be heading “back to school” for many years yet. You know, he’s got to go to school for the first time before he can go back to school. I sometimes try to imagine what that day will be like… but except for the fact that he’ll be older and speaking relatively coherent English, I suppose rather little will have changed. I’ll still be the dad, heading to work early in the morning and coming home late in the evening and rarely seeing the little tyke except for a short stint in the evenings and on weekends. In my fantasies, I at least have a job that’s closer to home so I spend less time on the road and more time with him and Dear Wife (that is, in those fantasies where I’m not outright working from home as a full-time writer, but that’s a different kind of fantasy).
So, these days, the effect of “back-to-school” on me is actually, generally, to make my morning commute marginally worse. This is when school busses come out of hiding to clog up neighborhood streets and cocky high school kids take to the roads driving themselves to school, putting an extra strain on already over-burdened traffic systems. But when you have an hour’s drive to work, one-way, what’s an extra five minutes? In the grand scheme of things, not that much.
Finally, of course, there’s one last effect. Schools have already started here, but for me, my Fall Semester kicks back into gear after the Labor Day Holiday. My “summer break” will have lasted all of about three-and-a-half weeks. This fall I’ve got some exciting classes lined up, but at the same time I’m just about out of energy for this school thing. I tell everyone that I graduate in May of 2011 – and that’s only nine months away – but frankly it still feels like a long, hard slog ahead. Nine months might as well be three more years for how far away it sounds to me, right now.
As for the extra-credit… I remember the ends to those dog days of summer, as a kid. You had to get all your new supplies ready to go, and leave behind the days when you had the unquestioned freedom to do whatever you wanted. When I was much younger, my mom used to make us read and study elementary math to keep our edges sharp for the new school year. I think what she did was great, and I was always ahead of the class. But by high school, Summer had begun to turn into an over-long break where my time was more-or-less wasted watching stupid shows on TV. I remember salivating over journeys I could never take to distant lands and foods I could never eat at fancy restaurants on daytime Discovery Channel programming during high school summers gone by. I realize I also spent a lot of time writing and reading and drawing (probably more reading than the others), but largely I feel like those days were opportunities wasted. The coming of back-to-school time meant an end to all that, and a chance to feel like I was doing something meaningful again.
These days, I envy those lost summers. Oh, what I could read and what I could write in three months of uninterrupted days. It would be like unto heaven…