Saturday, May 23, 2009

Musings on a Day Off that felt more like an off day

I was off on Friday. The people I work for were kind enough to let me take some of time I'd earned by working extra as compensatory time in conjunction with the holiday weekend. Between you and me, some of them still look surprised that I'm back at work after knee surgery, even though I've been back for five weeks now. (At least I hope that's a look of surprise and not disappointment.)

Happened earlier this week-someone I see only on rare occasions encountered me in the hallway. 'Hey!' he said, 'you're back?!' 'Yes I am,' I rejoined, fresh out of snappy counterpoint. All the people with whom I work are casual strangers at best. I have no illusions that we're all going to go shoe shopping one of these weekends or hit the barbecue together and we don't need to. I've been in jobs where folks have openly disliked each other so this is a delightful switch and I appreciate the day off almost as much, I suspect, as all the people who don't have to see (or deal with) me today (I am an acquired taste). Enjoy.

We live across the street, more or less, from Norwich Free Academy, which means especially in the Spring semester, many of the neighborhood streets around the school are student parking lots. Somewhere in the Constitution is a little-known provision that allows all Americans over the age of 16 to have a motor vehicle license and to drive to high school regardless of how may buses the taxpayers are subsidizing to go there and/or how near/far to the school you live. Look again, it's just below the part about the right to arm bears.

Our two children, when they were of that age, walked to NFA (their dad didn't have the money to get anybody else a car) and, based on the state of disarray in their rooms for all their growing up years, they also walked home in the afternoon (I assume). There were children on our street who drove to school. I kid you not-two minutes away by foot from the campus and they played minesweeper looking for parking spaces. Of course, more often than not, a fellow student pulled into the spot in front of their houses they had vacated when driving to school.

Friday afternoon as they were dismissed and headed for their cars and whatever the weekend holds, I felt that lecture from Dad School coming over me as I stood on the porch watching them swarm. You want to shout at them, all of them, to slow down and enjoy being just the age they are right now. You want to tell them there's no rush in getting to adulthood-you have to pay full price, jackets and ties are required and there's always day jobs involved in everything.

Some of this was precipitated, a bit (maybe) by my having heard via Facebook (just about the only useful application I've had for that thing so far) from someone with whom I last spoke the week of our graduation from Rutgers College at Rutgers University, thirty-five years ago. Everything came rushing back to me, JB, and it felt like yesterday until I looked in the mirror and couldn't place that geezer. When did we become our parents? When did all of this get so serious? And where the heqq did we park?
-bill kenny


Joe C said...

I live just up the street from City Hall, and my next door neighbor's daughter used to walk to NFA. Even in the winter. If I ever change careers, I've considered going into teaching and would consider walking to work to be one of the perks if I got a job at NFA or St Pat's.

dweeb said...

Good for your neighbor's daughter!
She's better off for slogging away (and that's a decent enough hike!)

I had a job years ago in Germany where I could walk to work--actually could walk to the streetcar and ride that to work. Didn't need a car, or own one.

Was in the best shape of my life and also had the best life in my life. ;-)