I’m well into my second decade teaching on the quarter system, yet it still feels like I’m living in a parallel universe, one where I’m constantly thinking “Can they hear me now?” since I can see and hear what appears to be the Main Universe, but they don’t quite remember that my universe exists.
So every April I watch in horror as colleagues on the Main Universe start their countdowns till summer vacations, while I’ve just about started spring quarter. And every August I watch with a bizarre mix of glee and anxiety as those very same colleagues bemoan the end of summer and stress over the start of classes.
These so-called friends ask me, “How WAS your summer?” and I answer, with increasing grumpiness, “It’s STILL summer, damn it! And it’s fabulous. Thanks for asking.”
Despite the vagaries of the academic calendar, it is not the end of summer. August is still summer in the northern hemisphere. And on this parallel universe where I live, classes don’t begin until late September.
But, hey, you all over there, your anxiety is totally contagious! I have one syllabus with assignments completed, and another syllabus completed but no assignments designed yet, and forgetabout the construction of the Blackboard part of the course! I’ve already started updating my Outlook calendar with office hour/class/meeting times, and e-mailing colleagues about a project due in October. Basically, I’m a workaholic wreck, despite having over 3 weeks before I need to have stuff done!
Luckily, Roxie’s World rescued me from my spiraling despair with a reminder, (and despite my diligence to yoga this summer, I needed a reminder), to breathe, and see the world through “beginner’s eyes”–in the positive sense of awe and freshness.
So thank you, Roxie. And thank you bloggers who have vowed to stay positive the last few weeks. You know who you are.
And thank you, Google Searchers, who continue to amuse me by stumbling onto this blog by searching for “Cousin It” or “peeing in a running skirt” or “Sex Lies and Videotapes and Feminism”—though I’m sorry, but you’re not going to find much on any of those topics, especially since the blog has obviously de-evolved over the summer from an Academic Blog to a Blog About Nothing.
Thank you nearby destination resort for having over 30 miles of paved bike trails in a beautiful setting on which I have been testing my new bike since it is still SUMMER.
Thanks, too, for all of those groups that put on fun SUMMER festivals, seemingly every weekend, that allow me to nibble on new foods (Korean bbq is delish) and sample new beers (fyi: name your beer something funny and that’s part of the pleasure).
And thank you Artists Rep for putting on one of my favorite Eugene O’Neill plays in a city only a few hundred miles from here, where I shall soon travel, since it is still SUMMER, to dine on urban delights, shop in stores that cater to women over 12 and under 90, and spend hours in the biggest, most beautiful bookstore in the world (where I intend to spend money despite putting myself on the interminable wait list for a Kindle).
To those on the Main Universe: have a good first week of classes, don’t forget to wear your beginner’s eyes glasses–since you obviously no longer need sunscreen, and enjoy the late-but-still-summer evenings.