Unbagging the Cats 1

Unbagging the Cats 1

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Marching On

We are nearly one-twelfth of the way to Christmas! Hope you're making a list of what to get your loved ones.

Time marches on. Not in a goosesteppy way. Nor in an award-winning, knee-lifting, toe-pointing, marching band kind of way. More like kids playing army, chanting, "Hup, twop, threep, fourp!" In an ungraceful, stomping kind of gait. Time.

Last week, we passed our one-hundredth day of school. Meaning only seventy-four left. Teachers do that, you know. Wish their lives away. Counting down to the last day every year, like they can only live fully during their summer break. Still, it's a better deal than regular working people get. I found that out during my five years of employment with the state of Missouri, handling unemployment claims. The trade-off, though, was that from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 a.m., I did not think about work. It was my own time. No homework. No worries. No planning. Quite liberating, actually. No stress. I could go to the store and not be recognized. I didn't have to live up to some antiquated saintly standard. But the lure of time, time stretching out lazily across June, July, and half of August, drew me back to teaching. That, and the elimination of my job, due to the advent of telephone claim-filing.

Time is a warn piece of Turkish Taffy when you're a kid, stretching on and on. Christmas takes forever to roll around again. Summer vacation is endless. One day you're running through the sprinkler while your grandpa waters the young trees surrounded by tiny metal fences, and the next day you're getting up early, watching The Lone Ranger and Fury, and walking a mile to school with your neighborhood friends. And that's okay. It was time. You didn't even see the new school year looming on the horizon. One day it's still summer, and the next day it's school. No dreading. For everything there is a season.

College rolls on for four years. Or more. It's limbo before starting your real life. Then things speed up. Marriage. Kids. Hopefully in that order. Life is what happens when you're making plans, as Sheryl Crow says. And before you know it, those kids are nearly ready to graduate. Try as you might, you can't put the brakes on now.

And once the kids are out on their own, time slows down again. Days stretch out. Blending one into the next. Time.

4 comments:

Stephen Hayes said...

I guess it's true that time is relative.

BECKY said...

WOW! This is some awesome writing, Ms. Val! Such a switch from your "normal" stuff. I really loved it. You pretty much said the kind of things I think about...about time. Fabulous post!

Linda O'Connell said...

Wait till you are my age. You will try to lasso time and hold it in the palm of your hand.

I too live for summer vacation. I love my job, but in my mind I am always heading south towards the Gulf.

Val said...

Stephen,
Yes. And relatives.

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Becky,
Thank you. Though some little piece of my mind is thinking, "Good to know that my normal, everyday writing is un-awesome." ;)

I actually had it ready to post automatically for a couple of days, but I didn't really like it, so I kept bumping it out of the rotation. Then I was at the ER last night with my mom, and it posted in spite of me. I have since given it the decency of a title, anyway.

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Linda,
Dang. That seems like a lot of work. I'm not signing on for the time rodeo.

I have grand plans every year for all that I'm going to accomplish over the summer. Val plans...her messy house and kids laugh.