It’s the beginning of the most magical time of the year for public educators in North Carolina. Yes, its “Summer Break,” which in any other profession would be called being “Laid Off”. Leave it to the sick and twisted Fearless Leaders to attempt to make something so horrible sound like a job perk.
I don’t want anyone to think that I’m not grateful for this opportunity. I spent one whole afternoon watching day time television before I remembered why I’ve devoted my career to helping people learn to think. I’ve also been spending my time (like many other teachers I know) preparing materials, experimenting with new technologies, lining up public speakers; in short I’ve been working. This might not sound like I’m taking the fullest advantage of my “Summer Break,” but I assure you that this is not the case at all! See, it hardly even feels like work because I’m free from the pressures of getting paid! It’s an amazing feeling, really.
I did manage to sneak out for a few hours yesterday to go for a bike ride. As I was riding around idyllic Beaufort I spied some idiot putting up a sign outside of his seafood restaurant which invited me to “Love Your Mother.” Lest you think that this person was seriously twisted, next to the word “mother” was a picture of the planet.
While I wrestled with the urge to run this Nature Winkie down with my bicycle (I did manage to control myself, but it was a near thing), I found myself shouting at the Winkie, “Mother Nature doesn’t love you!” The nonplussed look I got was totally worth almost swerving into a Suburban XLT parked along the side of the road.
My bike ride is a perfect example of what I meant. On my way out I was full of energy and shifted all the way up into my big gear and was zooming down the road at a pretty good clip and was feeling pretty good about myself… maybe I was getting the hang of this bicycling thing at last!
Then I reached my turnaround spot.
What I suddenly realized was that I had not, in fact, been full of energy. The wind had been literally blowing me down the road like a sailboat with wheels and now it was directly in my face. For those of you who don’t live on the coastal plain I will just say this: I have cycled up mountains and into the wind and I would take a mountain climb every day of the week and twice on Sundays. There is nothing more foul, more hateful, more disparaging to your manhood than having to bicycle into a steady wind. It sucks the energy from you and makes you downshift on perfectly flat ground while you vainly attempt to hunker down behind the handlebars into as small a shape as possible so that while you can’t breathe in that position, you also aren’t being pushed backwards down the road.
It was clear at that moment that “Mother Nature” doesn’t love me, and really if she was going to love anyone, it would be yours truly. I recycle AND use those cloth grocery bags.
Still I suppose that if that Nature Winkie wants to love “Mother Nature” then I suppose that there isn’t really anything wrong with that (aside from demonstrating his terminal stupidity, of course). I just hope that he’s prepared for that love to be unrequited and to take on some of the more unsavory characteristics of a stalker’s obsession.