Sunday, August 24, 2014


As I’ve written before, one of the perks of being a teacher is having the summers off. Unfortunately we don’t get paid for those days, but it’s time off nonetheless. People will ask me, “Clay, what is it you do with all your free time?” I always answer their question with gusto: “Nothing.”

I really don’t do a whole lot during the summer. I don’t have any real hobbies, like wood working or spelunking, nor do I feel compelled to do something just for the sake of doing something. Idle hands are not the devil’s playground, but in fact are just nicely rested hands. More than ready to handle the demands of safeguarding a beer. I firmly believe that the art of relaxing is totally undervalued and unappreciated. Unbelievably, people want to judge me because I’m still in my underwear at 4pm. I believe it would be bad form to skinny-dip in the front-yard kiddy pool at that time of day. Therefore, I will continue to keep my underwear on no matter the heat and humidity.

Getting out of bed during the summer is more complex than during the school year. In Nunam, I use my alarm clock. In Oklahoma, I use my internal alarm clock: the urge to pee. It will gently try to wake me, but I ignore the urge and pretend it’s not that bad. I’ll fall back asleep and try to resume my happy dreams. But instead, I start dreaming about peeing in inappropriate places. I’ll wake up in a panic, check the sheets for wetness, and hustle to the toilet. After that, there’s no way to go back to sleep, so I’ll get some coffee. 

Just a part of my lawn.
Once I’m up my only real chore is to make sure the lawn is mowed. I bought a new mower this summer and it has cut my weekly mowing time to only 5 hours. Now, that does not include my beer breaks. If you take those into account, my mowing time takes three days. Several U.S. studies (mine) have shown that breaking a chore down into smaller parts makes it more likely it will get done. As will several reminders from a spouse or similar partner. 

Monica and I do like to expand our cultural background during the summer. We will travel to listen to live music around Oklahoma and its surrounding neighbors. So I guess I do have a hobby: going to bars, drinking beers, and listening to music. Unfortunately, it also includes listening to assholes who decide to go to the same bar as I do, but instead of listening to music, they’re there to talk to their friends. I don’t understand why someone would chose a bar playing loud music to hold a conversation. Monica says a kidney punch would be uncouth. I believe it would be rightly deserved.
Matt Stell at the Wormy Dog Saloon in OKC.

That was pretty much my summer. I left out the parts of me eating because it would take up way too much space here and probably frighten the children. We’ve been back to our Alaska home for just over a week. With school starting in just a few days, I think I’m recharged and ready to go for another nine months. I’m looking forward to seeing my bright eyed students fully recharged and ready to give me hell for the next nine months. It’s one of the perks of my job.