Summer Begins

I knew it must be summer vacation by the need for music and the car windows down.

Truth be told, I've never understood anyone who drove with the windows up and the air conditioning on. Even though that means I arrive places sweaty and gross, having the windows down seems like an utter necessity when I'm driving. And so today, when I went out to drop some things at the post office and to pick up one or two things at the grocery store and instead found myself driving aimlessly with every window down and the stereo up, I knew.

Sometimes this need hits the way it did when I was a kid. The way the last days of summer brought a sense of desperation and laziness at the same time. It hits me like the perfect word. It hits me the way people in movies realize something true about their lover. It stops me from doing things. It makes me do other things instead. Examples: I could not clean my room today, try as I might. I could drink a beer. I could not work on my C.V. I could dream about living other places. I could not pay attention to the documentary about Joy Division. I could turn the stereo on, not so loud as to drown out the breeze.

At the back of my head, there's an itch that says if the book is done - when it is done, since I'll have at least one more round of edits to do, I'm sure - that it's my last academic obligation, and I can apply for anything I want because I won't have a writing contract hanging over my head. I could go places. I could sell out and pay off my debts. I could sink in them, give it all up, and become a painter.

I could doze off in my comfortable camping chair on the patio, the dog half-asleep but watching for suspicious walkers on the street below.

I'm refusing most anything that requires me to schedule. I slept too late this morning, and I'm not sorry. I've got a running list of books to try and read before it starts again. I will not RSVP to say I'm not RSVP'ing, no matter who the university official is. I'm dreaming up silly schemes and forgetting about syllabi.

I declare vacation.


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