It’s summer at the small, southern liberal arts college where I work. The morning has been slow and sleepy. I leave my library cubicle at noon and walk out into the searing Georgia heat and humdity I relish. After a morning in the air conditioning, I can feel the warmth seep into my bones. I feel reborn!
I drive through the Checker’s to-go window on the corner for a Checkerburger with cheese and a large order of those irresistible hot seasoned fries. I go back to campus, park under a tree, and sit in the car with the windows down listening to 99X’s Retroplex. Maybe Steve will play Wheel of Ramones! I roll back the top of the Checker’s bag and inhale the greasy steam. I eat my lunch while keeping my eyes peeled for a glimpse of the feral kittens that live in the woods behind the library.
After eating, I go back inside, throw away my trash and settle in for what I intend to be an afternoon of web work. I have a TV/VCR on my desk that I use to record off-air documentaries for professors to show their classes. I SOMETIMES also appropriate it for personal amusement. I slap on my headphones, flip on the Sci-Fi Channel and catch the end of “Batman!” THE Batman – Adam West! OOF! POW! THWACK!
I sit at my computer, stare out the window over my monitor and watch the birds and squirrels play in the tulip poplar tree outside my window. I’m getting sleepy. I try to focus on updating the college’s cultural events web page for the fall semester. But then it’s time for “Lost in Space!” I SO loved watching this when I was a kid, but I never got to see the end of an episode because it was on Sunday mornings. We had to leave right in the middle to go to Sunday School every week. But now, I’m a happily captive audience!
I finally concentrate enough to finish up my web updates and double-check the VCR to make sure it’s ready to record “Star Trek” at 2:00. I’m close to having all the episodes on VHS! And these VHS recordings will mean I can enjoy any episode forever whenever I want!
There is nothing better in my world right now than “Star Trek.” I don’t know why, but I can lose myself in it and for a little while, feel like I’m in another place, like I’ve escaped, like everything’s going to be OK. Spock, McCoy and Kirk are my friends.
I poke around a bunch of LearnLink conferences to see what’s going on around the college and to find out what students are complaining about today. I look at the news online. And before you know it, it’s 3:00. Time for back to back episodes of “Quantum Leap.” This is kind of a new show to me. I never watched it first run, and have fallen into it this summer simply because it comes on after Trek. But I’m starting to really like it! Who will Sam be today?
I check my email and poke around the internet some more.
Suddenly, I look up and it’s 5:00. Time to lock up the library, gather at the circulation desk with my co-workers, turn off the lights and go home. Where did the day go? I’m exhausted! It’s been a long, hard day. Summers are good.
Seven-years old. Riding to church in the back of Daddy’s pointy, green Thunderbird. Itchy in a flowered polyester dress with my sweaty legs chafing against the green vinyl seat. White, lace cuffed socks on inside-out in my black, patent-leather Mary Janes to avoid the maddening feel of seams rubbing my toes. The bright, warm rays of autumn sunshine strobing through the trees as we speed down the road make me sneeze. Daddy slides the power window down an inch and the cool air streams in along with the comforting smell of his cigarette. I examine the carton of Pall Malls on the seat next to me, intrigued by the mysterious royalty of the lions and knight on the logo. I try on Daddy’s hard hat and experiment to see how hard I can hit myself in the head. I am warm, and I am safe and I am happy. Life is good.