Friday, August 29, 2014

Too Cool for School

For the most part, I always liked school. Minus having to get up early and the agony that was PE class, school always came easy for me. I was not one of those students who couldn't wait to graduate (well, not from college anyway...I may have been the first person to enthusiastically toss my cap in the air to pronounce the end of my high school days). My grandmother used to say, "You didn't know how good you had it until it was over, did you?" And I would always tell her, yes ma'am, I did know how good I had it. My friend Will and I graduated a semester (or a football season, however you prefer to look at it) late from Clemson, and even then, we were not exactly jumping for joy. In fact, we met outside the auditorium on graduation day and exchanged looks very similar to people who were heading for a funeral. It was over, and it had been fabulous.

Then I got my first job, and the cruel reality of the end of my school days really set in; I was sitting at my tiny little desk, in my dingy, cramped little office, probably working on a scintillating Excel spreadsheet or office-wide memo that would never be read, when I realized it was President's Day. Which meant school was out. Oh. My. Stars. It was a holiday and I was working. Ah, you wicked world! Why, why, must this happen to me? The realization that I would never have another fall break, spring break, or Columbus Day off almost caused me to try and three-hole punch a major artery.

I muddled through by wising up and finding a semi-compromise: I went to work in banking. I didn't get May through August off, but I did at least manage to get back all those holidays that stop the mail from being delivered and the school buses from running. I'm not saying that crunching numbers from 8:00 to 5:00 every day was my ideal situation, but at least I didn't find myself stuck in a staff meeting when I could--nay, should--be celebrating George Washington's birthday. You have to right the wrongs and balance the scales of justice whenever you can.

But now I find myself in a much better place than banking, and even better than being a student: I live in the land of housewifedom. School just started back, and I'm not one iota jealous of any of you backpack-toting pencil pushers. Now that you're all back in your desks, the world is mine again. Now, the mall on a Tuesday morning is a deserted and I can enjoy my retail therapy at my leisure. My friends with children are free again to meet me for lunch. So long as I get there before the final bell rings, I don't have to worry about running over someone's Capri Sun-amped child in the aisles of Target or Walmart (it really slows your shopping down to have a preteen caught in the wheels of your cart). I can walk my dog in the morning without fear of being sideswiped by kids on bikes. They get all cocky once the training wheels come off, and it has been a dangerous summer dodging those wheels of terror.

That's right, little Johnny. The lazy days of summer are over and I am doing my best evil laugh about it. You are squirming in your seat, dreaming of recess and writing a 150-word essay on how you spent your summer vacation, and I'm just getting ready to kick mine off. School is out permanently at my house, and we are headed to St. Thomas for a week. Now that class is in session, we don't have to worry about long lines at the airport or crowded resorts. We've got our diplomas, and now we've got the beach and pool all to ourselves. It may have taken a while for the sting of graduating to subside, but it is a distant memory as we pack our bags for the Virgin Islands.

When we get back home, all the promising pupils will be spending their nights studying and doing homework. And while I don't get to schedule my classes so that my weekend starts on Thursday or so that my first class on Monday morning starts at 11:00, my biggest chore at the end of the day is trying to decide between Netflix or TiVo. Well, that, and trying to keep my semi-narcoleptic husband awake until 10:00. I'm working on my Masters in living the good life. Now, that is higher education.

I'll gladly trade algebra equations for suburban yuppie math--which is figuring out the price of a shirt that is 20% off the original marked price plus an additional 15% off with your coupon. Just don't start talking about mixers or crush parties, because, sadly, there really is no adult equivalent no matter how hard I try. But as much as I might miss dressing up in disco clothes and platform boots on a Tuesday night, I'm still glad I've traded blue books for US Weekly magazines, and ditched my backpack in favor of a Kate Spade purse. I'm wishing every single kid a fantastic school year--because I know I plan on having one. Now, I think I heard the bell ring. Hurry, we don't want you to be late. Because I've got some crowd-free living to do. Happy back-to-school!

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