Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Summer of My Discontent

Somewhere in the farthest corners of my memories, I remember my own days as a dirty little crumb snatcher playing with the other kids during the summer months with all of us pondering the frustrations of being in the five to seven year-old range. Nothing seemed fair with older kids having many more privileges while younger children, still in the helpless and cute phase and pandered to every waking second, got all the attention and care. Almost unanimously, our greatest desire was to grow up and live the life of an adult with the god-like ability to stay up as late as we wanted and to make our own choices on the foods we would or would not eat. These great kiddy conferences were especially common during the middle of summer when the glamour of being free from mean teachers and the drudgery of homework collided with soul crushing boredom. While the hypnotic affect of modern video games and cable cartoon television networks are rightfully condemned small children really could only play so many games of hide and seek, tag, jump rope, and marbles before it all became sickly repetitive. Yes, those were the simple, good old days of being free and bored beyond all ability to measure and I swear to God in Heaven right now I wish they were back.

All through my life summer has been special to me even after I had moved into the realm of adulthood when the carefree days of childhood boredom evolved into the never-ending survival requirement to hold down a job so little things like food, clothing, and shelter stayed little things in the background. I admit entering that mythical realm of adulthood that had once looked so attractive when I was a small child was not as appealing when the alarm clock kept going off every morning even during the hot summer months demanding that I get up and go to work. Still, some sort of balance was struck that held fast even after I got married. The addition of my own crumb snatchers didn't alter that basic equation for several years with them dutifully warehoused and under the command of paid caring adults. Except this summer the equation has been altered making it a serious pain in the ass at least until both my son, Darth Spoilboy, and my daughter, Miss Wiggles return to school in late August.

The troubles are caused by two changes in the normal routine, the first being that I work third shift now and the second being that I have to play dad taxi for the better part of the morning when all I want to do is go to bed. So she could be with her friends while school is out Wiggles' is attending a different day care this year, which opens at 8:00am. It is a popular daycare among the suburbanite moms who do not have to rush to get up in the morning and can lazily drop off their children before going to the country club for their all day tennis lesson with the hunky pro. Since Dragonwife has huge responsibilities at her job and has to leave for work early this requires me to rush home from my job to drop Wiggles off so she can be a part of the planned activities for that day. Darth Spoilboy, in the middle of his teenage hormonal avalanche, nearly always wants me to drop him off at one of his friend's homes around the same time so they can do whatever teenagers do that hopefully does not involve drugs, sex, or interaction with the police. Sometimes his requests even involve me picking up several of his friends and dropping them all off at another location. It is quite the experience to be driving around a car full of teenagers during a hot, humid morning, listening to the strange sounds they call music coming from the CD player still wearing your work clothes that feel as though they are crawling across your skin. Especially bad are my socks that are old and constantly fall down around my ankles, which is a very miserable feeling for me because I remember my grandfather complaining about the same thing driving me around when I was a teenager.

At least when this week is behind me I can at least say the worst is over, Wiggles is attending a math camp at her school requiring me to first drop her off there then pick her up two hours later and rush her down to her daycare. The kicker for this camp is that they charge ten dollars for every ten minutes a parent is late after the pickup time. With all the conservative drones around here who worship only the dollar it's a mass panic to grab their children after that last bell has rung. Once the camp is over at the end of this week the morning rush can be reduced a few levels.

Not directly affecting me but making the summer an even bigger irritant nonetheless like the state of the world does little to soften the insane and rushed times we seem to live in. An oil well in the Gulf threatens to turn every beach from Louisiana to Key West, Florida into a toxic mess with the head corporate lackey whining about wanting his life back. Every fishermen, business person, dolphins, sea turtles, shark, fish, plankton, and every other life form that inhabits the Gulf waters should be ashamed of themselves making the rich dickhead suffer because they happen to exist in the first place. Adding to the fun is nightly news about the American economy that can't seem to get its feet again but doesn't stop the bankers from restarting their casino-like behavior that about destroyed it the first place. Moreover, the politicians and terrorists (the difference between the two is tough to see sometimes) are always good at stirring up trouble both here in the United States and overseas.

Sort of makes me long for the days when all we had to really worry about was nuclear annihilation from the thousands of nuclear weapons the Soviets had targeted on us. Overall, I can wait for the summer to be over and feel the return of the chilly winds of Autumn. But wait a minute we have mid-term elections this year….dammit I need a drink.


Beach Bum said...

Excuse the typos buts its 10:18am and I have to run one of the kids someplace.

Vigilante said...

Just keep track of where you left your car keys!

sunshine said...

Thank goodness I'm a stay at home Mum! I don't know how people do it that have to work, look after the home AND run their kids around as well.

Anyhow, I'm still eating cheesecake. :)
See you later!

Liberality said...

Ah, I fondly remember those days of being the designated taxi driver for the kids. Oh, but it gets to be even more fun when they get their driver's license and can get around on their own. At least when you are the driver you KNOW where they are.

Teresa said...

Dude, I hated 3rd shift years ago when I had to rotate shifts. I became another person, plus lack of sleep OMG ! So get that drink sometime this evening when the wife is home and chill. You can't do anything about the "World Mess" but I have noticed you do some of your best writing when your stoked. Hang in there, your a good Dad for doing the Taxi routine, they will remember day.

Randal Graves said...

small children really could only play so many games of hide and seek, tag, jump rope, and marbles before it all became sickly repetitive.

That's what Risk and Strat-O-Matic baseball was for! :)

It's a good thing you aren't a wingnut, or I'd wager you'd have shot someone already. Instead, have another shot.

David Barber said...

I seem to be the same some days. Although I do days all the time, I get a free day now and again and having a lie in just never comes off" They'll be able to sort themselves out soon enough. :-)

On the politics and world in general, Beach, have a drink and chill out mate. We can't do f**k all about this s**t that goes on around us. The tossers we've elected (NOT ME) in this country think the best way forward is to put another few thousand or so out of work. The peeps that voted them in are the ones who's job they are cutting. It's laughable.

Give me times when I had not a care in the world, anyday!! I toast a beer for us both my friend.

TomCat said...

Thanks for the memories Beach. They used to tell me that when I grew up, I would wish to return to childhood. I thought they were nuts!

Pixel Peeper said...

Ugh - I remember providing taxi services to a bored teenager! I would use up my lunch hour to drive around in 109º heat in Lexington in my little Honda Civic without air...

I think that's why frozen margaritas were invented.

Enjoy the summer!

tnlib said...

This is kind of a luxury - having lived through what someone else is now going through. And you too will live through it. Any chance of getting a car pool going so you don't have to do it every day?

Beach Bum said...

Vigil: Seriously! I lost the damn things a few days ago and found them in the refrigerator. I have no idea how the keys ended up there.

Sunshine: Cheesecake sounds really good, save me a piece.

Liberality: Actually I have the kid location angle though out, I'm going to tag my son with one of those under the skin chips.

Teresa: 3rd really ain't so bad since it mostly keeps me away from the Teabaggers that work on day shift.

Randal: I would be lying my friend if I did not admit the thought had crossed me mind several times.

David: Yeah, its all going to Hell in handbasket, with no easy answers. I don't worry too much about the situations but it does bother me at time at how fast things seem to be going bad. That's why I have mostly gone over to writing fiction but with the summer being so stressed I really have felt like writing much. I do have one story that is still looking at a serious to near complete rewrite.

Tomcat: If I could I would drop back in time to the 11th grade and visit mt English teacher, dear Lord she was HOT!!!!

Pixel: Frozen margaritas sound sound like a plan this weekend. I'm going down to the coast next weekend.

Tnlib: Car pool? No, not really I'm the weirdo liberal in the area so everyone tends to stay away from me, which is totally cool as far as I am concerned.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I, like you, double b, pine for those good old days of the cold war. The way that I see it, it's far better to have one humingous existential threat than it is to have an unlimited/unpredictable set of smaller ones......And while I never really thought of Bush as a terrorist per se, you're totally correct on that analogy, too. Politicians and terrorists AREN'T all that different. In fact, I'm beginning to think that they frigging need each other in order to survive. Talk about a simbiotic relationship.

Beach Bum said...

Will: BINGO!!!!! You when the daily Parrothead award, that was the point I was trying to make. the line between politicians and terrorists is a blurry one with the added dynamic that they do very much need each other.

And I was speaking in general with no direct thought to W.

Tim said...

Hmm childhood sucked for me and others I knew. I vowed my kids would have it better. I'm not talking about money. I never chased my kids with a knife. So take pride in the now and feel proud as you are doing a good job. In the end, that's all that really matters is how well you raised your kids. Of course being the dad, all kids have Daddy issues, ahh so what...

Middle Ditch said...

Flying by to say hi. Will come back when I have more time to give this a good long read.

sunshine said...

Hmmmm... I do believe that I left a comment for YOU on your comment that you left at Randals.
You know which one I'm talking about jerk. :P

And on Canada Day to boot.

((Hugs)) with NO titty press for you!

TomCat said...

And my Spanish teacher was muy caliente tambien!!

Beach Bum said...

Sunshine: Please forgive my outrageous and ridiculous attempt at humor, it was totally stupid. I did leave a very nice comment on Charleston Daily Photo about Canada on Joan's Canada Day Post.

Tomcat: Ah the teachers in my past were ladies the stuff of terrific fantasies as well.

lime said...

i am so with you on this one. adding to the hectic mom taxi schedule a husband who is traveling for 4 weeks this summer and i am just fried.