Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fantasy Summer

After two years of teaching a summer class that began the week after spring classes finished, I finally declined do a frantic May term class. No May term class, no bizarre faculty workshop in the Midwest. None of it. And thus, my fantasy summer could commence.

The fantasy summer is not exactly the most exotic or radical of fantasies. I don't dream big here. I don't, for example, imagine running wild in a field of wheat in Italy, all Room with a View style. In fact, I said no when my mother suggested renting a villa in Italy this month. (I'm still debating the wisdom of this decision, but every time I consider the vision of being trapped with my parents in the countryside, the "no" seems smarter and smarter.) Nope, none of the big world-traveling fantasies for me. Rather, the fantasy summer has lots of things like: get up and drink coffee leisurely, and then watch Rachel Getting Married on the DVR before 11 a.m. Re-up my subscriptions to Elle, Vogue, and Bazaar and read them all at a local coffee shop every month. Go to weekly guitar lessons. Wander the farmer's market and experiment with complex and very tasty recipes.

As fantasies go, it's not a bad set.

Despite the fact that I'm not teaching during this month, however, there is no fantasy summer in sight. Since the completion of finals, a mere two weeks ago, I have done the following:
  • spackled, primed, and painted the downstairs hallway and it's three doors
  • spent 28 hours in the big city (including travel time), so that I could see this
  • cleaned the house and cooked brunch for eight
  • spent a quality 6 hours with the tub refinisher, his toxic chemicals and humming machinery
  • clocked approx. 15 hours on the phone with my mother to work through 18 different plans for their last minute trip to visit
  • written the first 8 pages of an essay due May 31
  • began writing the syllabus for one of my fall classes
  • began reading the textbook for another fall class
And lest I think that the fantasy summer awaits, the next 6 days require:
  • calling and reserving hotel rooms for parents' still undecided travel plans
  • grocery shopping and baking for friends
  • 36 hours in Green State to cheer on marathoning friends (for the record, this isn't a burden)
  • getting oil changed in car for said trip
  • getting a hair cut and pants hemmed in preparation for parents' arrival
  • changing dentist's appt. because of conflict with parents' arrival
  • let's not forget that essay, shall we?
After all that, then the fantasy summer commences? Well, no, then the parents arrive. But after that? Hmm, but then we're into June, and I should really start researching for my fall conference paper, and revising and resubmitting an article. July, perhaps? Doubtful, as I signed on for a short pre-fall semester class, as well as prepping the fall classes.

So, to my non-academic friends on Facebook who say things like: "wow, get ME an academic job so I can have summer break," I say to you, fuck right off.

It is truly bliss to have three full months without being accountable to students--truly, it's the mechanism that allows me to like them come fall. But it suddenly occurs to me that the fantasy summer can only happen if I give up writing and researching, at which point I'd be unaccountable (and I mean that in many ways) to myself. There's a special kind of irony in the idea that, post-tenure, my fantasy summer is further away than ever.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Frenchie Foo said...

Me too! I had this wide open block of time that I have suddenly managed to fill up. What happened?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 9:51:00 AM  
Blogger Sisyphus said...

But you could take a week of the fantasy summer at least!

And why are you scheduling your parents' trip if you're not going?

Thursday, May 21, 2009 12:56:00 AM  

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