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.