Just before coming in here to write, I saw where a classmate of mine posted “I’m Bored” to her Facebook timeline. That gave me a chuckle as I thought, “Right on time!”
Back in the day, it was the second week of July; check! We were out of school since the end of May; check! It was too hot to be outside; check! Yup, it was about time for every elementary school kid to start bugging their moms and dads about being bored. All year long we waited for the summer vacation and now it is here. We’ve been blasting through the neighborhood terrorizing every living thing; riding our bikes, running through the sprinkler in the front yard, playing baseball and watching the girls in the neighborhood walk by looking so cool. Just how in the heck did they pull that off? I was standing there covered in sweat and clay from that last slide into home plate.
It was in the upper 90s and the humidity was about a thousand percent, you know, typical summer in northern Florida. The 3 PM thundershower was still hours away and even thought it will cool things down a little it will raise the humidity even higher. I’ve been up since 4:30, rising early to throw my paper route. I couldn’t go “collecting” because of the heat and all the husbands are at work. The housewives always told us to come back after five when they can pay you. Was it the sweat or the dirt from the base path between third and home? I’ll never know.
Midday was the part of the day when time stood still. If I was clean enough, I was allowed to lie on the rug in the living room and listen to the DJs on the radio ply their trade. Otherwise, I could get my transistor radio and lie on the grass in the shade of the pine trees in the back yard. It really didn’t matter much either way. There was no air conditioning in homes back then, so I had the choice of the sea breezes outside, when they were blowing, or the attic fan inside. I was always amazed that the “slick – slick” of the fan belt would keep time with the latest song from Buddy Holley, Little Richard or Elvis.
Later, I’d gather with a couple of classmate friends down on the corner and we would ride our bikes around, sometimes to patrol the street where one of the girls we liked lived. Occasionally we were rewarded for our efforts when she came out and talked with us for a while. Other times we would ride down to Cedar Creek or the Ortega River to watch them work on the boats in the boatyards.
We also augmented our paper route income by mowing lawns. That really kept us busy because grass really grew with the perfect mixture of sun and showers. This necessitated a mowing every 10 days or so. Of course, our own lawn got special treatment, a trimming every week, usually on Saturdays when Dad was there to oversee.
Three summers had an extra activity, swim lessons down at Lackawanna Pool. Three days a week for six weeks each year garnered us Beginning Swimmer, Intermediate Swimmer and Advanced Swimmer certificates. Usually, being in the water was a lot of fun, but this was a lot of work. I opted out of life guard training which would have come the following year. I was so skinny back then; I thought the girls would laugh at me sitting up in a lifeguard chair. Besides, I didn’t have reliable daily transportation to the beach.
Now, you are thinking that I’ve forgotten summer school reading. Nope – there was no such thing back then. Well, there was this one English teacher who had the gall to assign three extremely boring books to read before my senior year. I struggled through one and a half before giving up. Lucky thing for me, I didn’t have him the next year. I would be remiss however if I didn’t note that I read all three of those assigned books as an adult and loved them! I guess it is all about perspective. My reading tastes leaned more to Jules Verne and Tolkien back then.
So, back in the day, during the latter part of the summer, I would say to myself, “I’m Bored!” But from the time I started college, I don’t think I ever felt bored. Even now, being semi-retired, I have something going on all the time. I wonder if I will ever slow down enough to be bored again. I suspect that time is coming. But being surrounded by friends, memories, music and books, I don’t think it’s coming soon. Oh MY!