Lemonade and Lord of the Rings

It is at this time of year that I inevitably hate working. It has nothing to do with my job, it’s just about how nice it is outside. To be sure, it’s made a bit worse this year by the fact that I don’t have a window in my office, though.

I have so many awesome summer memories. There was that one summer that my family belonged to the country club, and my sister and I could go swim whenever we wanted to, and we charged food from the grill to the family account indiscriminately. There were lots of summers where my sister and I ran lemonade stands and I rode my bike from right after dinner until after the sun went down. And of course, summer after summer was filled with hanging out at the ballpark downtown while my brother played Little League for something like 8 years in a row. We scrounged in the dirt to find pop cans, because the concession stand would give you 10ยข for each one you turned in. We got entire hot dogs and more pop that way every game.

The best summer ever, though, was the summer betwen my junior and senior years of high school. Mostly because I spent the whole time with just my mom. My dad was starting his practice in Houston, but my mom stayed behind in Michigan to sell the house. My brother decided to live with my dad since he was home from Rice. My sister went to be a nanny in New York for a family we knew, and that left just my mom and me to hang out. I looked for a job, but couldn’t find one. My mom told me not to worry about it, and when I wanted to go out with friends, she’d just give me money for dinner on the principle that if I were eating at home, she would’ve paid to feed me anyway.

We slept late. We watched game shows together in the morning while she folded laundry. Sometimes I’d babysit during the day to make a little money for hanging out. This was the summer I started my tradition of reading Lord of the Rings all the way through, and I’d spend entire afternoons outside on a lawn chair just reading. My mom and I would take the dog to the park when we had to show the house, which was grueling on all of us, because the dog hated the car. I would meet up with my friends in the late afternoon, when they all got off from their jobs, and we’d go hang out in parks or rent movies or just sit at Espresso Milano with ice cream and coffee. I came and went as I pleased, and my mom and I bonded through it. Everything about that summer was casual and free and easy. It was perfect. It’s the kind of freedom and perfection I wish I had in all facets of my life.

But now I work every summer. In fact, this new job I’ve taken will require me to work longer and harder in the summer than any other part of the year. Why do we condition children growing up to believe that summer is relaxed and free, when as adults, they’re going to have to work through the best part of the year? There’s no sleeping late. There’s no lazy reading of books in the backyard all afternoon. The closest I’ve ever come to that in my adult life was when Charlie Junkerman used to tell me to “take some time; sit under a tree; read a book” during the middle of my work day, and I loved him for it. Summers just ain’t what they used to be.

One Response to “Lemonade and Lord of the Rings”

  1. william
    May 17th, 2006 11:34

    Download a very great parody of Lord of the Rings at:

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