Maybe a better title to this post would be, What Happened to August Vacation?
Full disclosure: this is a lament, not a rant. Not nearly enough of those sometimes in the world of the social and the media. But as I type this, I’m at a beach house on the Atlantic. The weather is beautiful: the sun is shining, it’s warm but with a cooling breeze, and the ocean is a cerulean that no artist has ever really been able to duplicate on canvas.
Then there’s this: My wife just finished her fifth call of the day, so far. Reading one of the dozens of emails she’s already gotten, she just muttered, “Why do people do stupid things?” (Never a good sign.) I have had a call already this morning, read and sent a batch of emails and will have another call in about a minute. Worse, my teenage children have been working on summer assignments, from designing a set for a play, reading for AP English and cutting cards for the new policy debate year. Tomorrow, two of them have to call in for a four-hour-long meeting they are missing in person, related to that aforementioned play. I have at least another call tomorrow and probably should do that writing assignment I’ve been putting off for a couple of days. My son’s debate team even this morning tweeted a picture showing at least a dozen kids working in a classroom already. (Of course I favorited it.) And did I mention that we are going to be here for another two days? Now the phone’s ringing for my call…
…and I’m back. August at the beach, and we expected crowds. Except it’s not that crowded, even though the month is barely half over. Friends are posting Facebook pictures of their kids on their first day of school today, and a few already posted them last week! W. T. … oh, never mind. That sound you heard a few days ago was the starting pistol of the rat race, once again running rampant across what you used to call your life. And no one is surprised. Instead of that WTF, it’s more like SMH.
It wasn’t always like this, was it? And let’s not even go down the road of comparing our lives to the vacation-rich Europeans. If you’re like me and want to feel green at the gills with envy, read this story.
Yes, I’m going there: school used to start after Labor Day, or at least only at the very end of August. Now, not so much. Mid-August is the norm, and that even had to be legislated in some states since many educators were champing at the bit to start practically on August 1. Time off from school is a good thing for kids; they need time to do nothing. Or in my kids’ case, do nothing by constantly monitoring Instagram.
Even the press of business has ramped up in August. Many folks I know are at a big industry conference this week; shouldn’t they still be on vacation? Or thinking about what conferences they will be attending in the fall? Some events folks that I know used to say that August was one of the worst times to hold a conference, thanks to the fact that so many people were out of the office, vacationing with their families. Now, not so much.
Is it time to move to Europe? That might be nice, but it’s not practical. Plus, learning French turned out to be much harder than I thought it would be.
It’s time to rediscover what August — ALL of August — was intended to be: a month to take some well-earned time off to get ready for the fall’s push of schoolwork for kids and the never-ending onslaught of projects at work for the adults. What we’ve gone and done is turned August into what it was never intended to be: September. And that’s a shame.
UPDATE: Seems WordPress also has been thinking about August and its whereabouts (or all too soon passing). Check out compilations of various blog posts here.