The weather came on strong today, if a little gradually. Everyone knew it was coming. We talked about it for a couple of days – Thursday, gonna be hot, man. The School even sent an email suggestion ultimatum, ordering us to apply sunscreen to the children before school, and send them with a backup for later. The School thinks itself helpful. Or at least I have to tell myself that, in spite of my hunch that The School is simply fulfilling its primary mission, which is to not get sued. But seriously, it was supposed to hit 80 degrees. It might have done that eventually, but I didn’t check.
We all get a little stupid on this first hot day, and choose to ignore what we know, which is that the morning is still MYGODMYNIPPLES. Our temperatures peak at about 5:30 PM, even in the dead of summer, and until about June you can just forget about those moderate and fine mornings. We’ll have sun with our coffee from time to time for a while, sure, but warmth? Come on, I’m not even gonna get spider webs in my face on the way to the car for at least another month. The spider webs are how you know, you know:
“Alright you two, just get to the- OH MY GOD IS IT ON ME?! IT’S ON ME ISN’T IT?!”
Yep, even with a face full of spider web, I still have time for apostrophes. Like I said, it’s too soon for that, but we still get up and put on shorts and t-shirts and flip-flops (without socks this time), and maybe even throw out a casual suggestion that we have breakfast on the patio today. Which of course is stupid, because everyone knows you can’t eat on the patio until it’s warm enough for the bees to drive you back inside. Paging Dr. Kevorkian.
Still, it was a beautiful day. I used it for unusual things, the greatest of which was the rare opportunity to take my son on a brief tour of the campus where I am attending college. There’s something sort of backwards or sideways about that, I don’t know. Aren’t dads supposed to visit their kids’ campuses? It doesn’t really matter because it was us, together. As always, he wanted “shoulders.” Even as his vocabulary grows and the stilted locution of childhood stitches itself together into real communication, he occasionally opts for the throwback of a singular loaded expression. For a ride atop the old man’s back he will slowly move, as we walk, from alongside me to directly in front, and as I almost trip over him he’ll simply say “shoulders?” I have a hell of a time saying no. I hoisted him and he steered me around the campus. It’s a community college, small and without much to show. A five year old has a different set of standards, though, and a crummy little clock tower with perfectly accurate time had a hidden quality:
“That’s the slowest clock in the world, Papa.”
“No, son, that’s the second slowest. The slowest clock in the world will be hanging on the wall in your classroom. Then you’ll get a job and absolutely freak out when you see that someone took it down and put it on the wall in your office.”
I forgot to take him by the Aviation Maintenance Technology building, where he (and I) would have loved a gander at the airplane engines they have. Boeing just donated the Pratt & Whitney from a 777 to the school in February. Maybe I should change my degree.
I did take him by my classroom, where I will sit tomorrow. It is odd. I am of two worlds, or perhaps two characters, when I am there. I feel very old sometimes, even though I know that “going back to school” is not uncommon. There are other old people there, every one of them attempting something noble, in a country where such a thing is immanently possible. And then I feel very juvenile. Not in a strictly age related sense, but in a maturity sense. As if what I’m doing is more whim or farce or pot-stirring than anything else. A morbid recreation for some guy who’s rapidly running out of excuses and validity. It isn’t, though. Not completely.
Maybe I should calm down. It’s only been a week.