Jaimie got annoyed at me yesterday. I asked her what she wanted for dinner as she was still digesting her brunch. She rolled her eyes with her voice and asked why I was trying to make her day go by so quickly.
I wasn’t trying to fast forward her day. We were about to go on a walk and I wanted to inventory what we had on hand for dinner before we left. But I understand how she felt. How often do I let my mind move on to the next thing as soon as the one thing begins.
I’m writing a little later in the day today, because when I sat down in front of my computer this morning I felt the need to crack open the old TEACHING folder on my Desktop and dust off the syllabi from their summer vacation.
Not that they’ve collected much dust. We only got out of school yesterday it seems. Have we even had time to turn off our brains? Especially considering the second the Fourth of July fireworks ended stores were like, “Back to School Bitches!”
And it’s not just back to school. Companies have even started sneaking their Pumpkin Spice bullshit into the middle our summers! A friend just posted a picture of Pumpkin Spice Honey Nut Cheerios. In August! PUMPKIN SPICE SHOULDN’T START FOR AT LEAST ANOTHER MONTH. IT IS 116 DEGREES OUTSIDE! NOT TODAY SATAN! NOT TODAY!
It’s insanity. We spend all our time in the present preparing for things to come, and when the thing to come is upon us, we simply look past that and move on the something else.
Maybe the language we use is the problem. “Summer Break” conjures up illusions of an extended period of time. Of leisure. Of time to gently idle by. That’s a lie of course. Summer break is really just July and a couple of days in June. Just enough time to take nap, run to the beach, read one of the books off our summer reading list before the tyranny of schedules of Google Calendars are once again upon us.
I suppose I’m more sensitive to it now than I was a few years ago. Being a survivor, it makes sense why an August sighting of Pumpkin Spice anything would blind me with rage. How many summers do we get in this world? This, now, today is the time for tank tops and flip flops. Sweaters and backpacks, pumpkin spice and the crunching of leaves will have its time soon enough.
But the companies have clearly won. That’s why I was asking Jaimie about Sunday dinner while she was still full from Sunday brunch. Because looking to what’s next has become a part of my mental operating system. And while I’m never going to stop Target from putting out backpacks on the 5th of July, or keep Starbucks from switching to the red cups the day after Labor Day, perhaps I can be aware of how much it’s infiltrated me, and stop it in my own life.
Because at 5pm, Jaimie suggested we have tacos, and by 7:15 we were eating them. Turns out we didn’t need to think about dinner at the expense of brunch.
We never did.
There was a time for that all along.