Douglas James Troxell
The Death of Summer
Nothing is sadder than the death of summer.
One of the first stories I ever had published was a story called "Chasing Summer." It was about a young father trying to recapture that elusive feeling of "summer" he remembers from his childhood.
One of the advantages of being a teacher is you get most of the summer off. I know, I know, I'm supposed to say we still have to do lesson planning and curriculum and conferences, but no one really cares about that. The bottom line is we don't have to go to our place of employment for an extended period of time. It's the reason so many people (including our spouses) hate us.
I think the reason our haters (who are just jealous, by the way) take such issue with teachers having summers off is they're looking at it from the perspective of a kid. When they think of summer, they think of Popsicles and swimming pools and bike rides and family vacations.
They think of freedom. That's what summer was. It was freedom. Freedom from essays and homework and detention and angry teachers and projects and speeches and waking up early in the morning and crappy cafeteria food and freezing your butt off at the bus stop (PA Represent!) and drama and bullies and bells. Summer was freedom from all those things.
But having summer off isn't the same for adults, especially if you're an adult with children. Summer may erase responsibility for a kid, but it is not as kind to adults. The bills still need to be paid, the kids still need to eat, the kitchen still needs to be painted, the car is still making that weird rattling noise, and the dog hasn't been right since he fell down the stairs and he's getting pretty old and do you think it's time to put him down? How are we going to tell the kids...?
Here's the truth: Summer is not for adults. Teachers are nothing but tourists. We're the people who are too old to be at the club on Friday night who hurt our hip on the dance floor or the annoying alumni who show up to high school football games with our faces painted that everyone hates.
You can't go back to the way it was. Adults wear too many chains to ever feel the sense of freedom summer once inspired...
..but it's still freakin' cool to not have to go to work for two months and stay up late playing video games and screwing off all night!!!1
There. I said it. It's still kind of awesome.
Anyway, in honor of the death of summer, check out my short story "Chasing Summer."