It’s the third day of summer vacation, and I hear the dreaded words: I’m bored.
Yay, I say, summer has begun, it’s weaving its spell. Go kill some flies on the porch, I say. He calls a friend down the street instead, who says, miraculously, I’m bored too. He comes down to swim, where they spend hours and then have a sleepover at the friend’s house. Thank God for neighborhood kids.
I was working from home that night so logged on at 4 p.m. in my raggedy sundress. At 10 p.m. the Dad of another friend calls inviting Dylan to ride go-karts the next day (his wife was out of town, he explained, sorry for calling so late)…clearly he didn’t understand the magic of boredom. I said sure, I’ll meet you at 9 a.m. with my ripe from sleepover kid. If I wake up.
I picked Dylan up at 4 p.m. the next day for a dentist appointment, after I’d spent the day with Dad. At some point work called, catching me off guard, and I agreed to pick up the night shift and log on from home again because the husband’s still out of town. At 5 p.m., the car overheated 30 miles from home. I am still not bored.
Dylan’s tired from no longer being bored and lack of sleep. Holding the popsicles the orthodontist doled out—yes, you read right—I pulled the steaming car into a gas station, wishing for the old-timey full-service stations where a mechanic was on duty. I bought a gallon of water and cursed my foreign car. Found a good Samaritan to help. Water gushes out as fast as we pour it in. Clearly the car is not driveable. Dad picks us up an hour later. The car’s towed to the mechanic. I’m home just in time to log on. I want to be bored. Summer is fleeting and soon gone.
The next day, the husband finally gets home and I pull out my silent scorn and fling my pointy as a dagger cold shoulder his way. Dylan spends the morning catching flies with his hands like Spider-Man. I try to start the spare car in the garage. Dead battery of course. I am late for work that night.
I want to spend my summer time upside down on the couch watching Phineas and Ferb, playing MX vs. ATV Alive on Playstation, killing flies and time. No homework, no school bell, nowhere to be. A car that runs as it’s supposed to, a job that doesn’t expect me, a husband home where I left him. I don’t want “playdates” or dental appointments or to-dos. I want to be on summer time, where it’s endless, never runs out, flies on the wing, sifts through your fingers like sand on the beach.
I am spoiled by work-at-home summers. I wish everyone the joys of true boredom, time ill-spent, where BLTs constitute every dinner and a world where dentists dole out Fudgsicles. Just because it’s that magical out-of-school no-routine heat wave of summer. Summer well.
If fall is back to school and winter is cabin fever and spring is spring fever, then summer is none of these—the opposite, the life outside the box of space and time timelessness, the we-have-nothing-to-do how glorious.
“I’m so bored” means I summered well.
The next day all I had to do was buy strawberries and peaches and make shortcakes and buy Father’s Day gifts and help the boys pack the camper and visit Dad and be home by 7 for a meeting. Too much for a summer Saturday. Today I’m considering pitching that $150 worth of mulch they delivered as a Father’s Day gift and finish mowing. Summer eludes me. I still need to mop, clean the baths, get groceries, and make dessert. I’ll count on the endless hours of a summer day to grant me enough time to do that all.
But I just want to be bored.