Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Summer just wasn't my season

I overslept this morning, and by "overslept" I mean "woke up to the realization that my alarm had been going off for about 25 minutes." I'm not sure how I continued sleeping for 25 minutes despite despite a high-pitched ringing sound being blasted into my eardrum from a couple feet away, but I did. Sleeeeeeeeeep.

Anyway, I started doing all my typical get-ready-to-go-to work crap without really thinking, and it wasn't until I was standing in the shower trying to awaken from my nine-hour slumber that I had an epiphany: Today is August 29. Tomorrow is August 30.

Summer (at least my interpretation of it) is over. Thank God.
. . . . . .

One of the few things I very specifically remember from my early years of high school was a day in gym that featured absolutely nothing -- and I do mean absolutely nothing. A little bit of backstory: The previous day's class (if gym can be called a class), for some reason, was led by a substitute who pretty obviously wasn't a regular gym teacher. For lack of alternative ideas or possibly at the discretion of somebody possessed by pure evil, his directions were as follows: Go to the track and run until class is over. In my mind, this was the worst idea ever, just slightly worse than hiring Ron Zook to decide football-related things.

So we went to the track and -- us being high schoolers and this dude being a sub -- just walked around it for the entire time rather than running since, ya know, running is awful unless your lungs are the size of a truck. I might have run for the first two minutes; that was the extent of my effort. The rest of the time was spent leisurely strolling, checking out the (very few) attractive girls in relatively scanty gym attire and just generally trying to pretend I wasn't supposed to be running.

That turned out to be not such a good idea since our perfect caricature of a gym teacher (except with a mustache) came back the next day and handed down the most absurd punishment in the history of ever: Sit on the gym floor and don't talk or move or do anything else until the end of "class." So that's what happened. I spent 50-ish minutes doing literally nothing except getting a sore ass from sitting on a hardwood floor and experimenting unsuccessfully with telekinesis. I can actually think of a bunch of things that would've be worse but nothing that could possibly have been more boring.

The reason that story has any relevance to anything: That hour is basically what summer has become for me. There's nothing. There's nothing except waiting and waiting and waiting for anything other than the nothing. That's it. There are glorious explosions of awesomeness that last from August to January and then get ripped away and replaced by a kind of boredom and depression that can only be cured by the thing they replaced, and there's no way to reproduce that thing until summer is over and it's just there again, so inviting and just as gloriously awesome as before and forcing you to wonder why it ever had to leave.

It's there again. It's there again, which means I took the time out of my day ignored work today long enough to re-read possibly the greatest thing ever written and will now blockquote it because I must:
The whistle blows. The conferences order themselves. Then you will face the winter again, holding the note and understanding the urge to write those words on a sheet of paper: "Football season is over."

The experience, though, is now more than enough. The wind may cut through me now. It's an indicator that I'm alive, completely and fully alive in the indefinite span between arrivals and departures. This all matters so much more now, all of it, football and every other absurd fixation, the time, the space, the diversion, and most of all who you share it with, because it is finite, borrowed, and ultimately reclaimed. Its scarcity is its value; its pleasure is in its ultimate end. Its consolation is its rebirth and continuation.

In the depth of winter I finally learned there was in me an eternal September. This definite, very real September I'm writing in, however, is the only place and time I want or need.  Football season is over; football season has begun. The rest is life, and it can and will wait until February, the question that always answers itself by becoming March, and then April, and then back to September again.
Life can wait until February. Let's do this.


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