About the end of July, I find myself avoiding looking at the sales parts of newspapers and also e-mail from the department.
Because they do not grasp that it is still summer. The ads want to tout Back to School items, and the chair wants to get everyone on board with the retreat/department meeting/training session that's been cooked up for us while we were thinking that it was still, well, July. It's as though you're having a good time at a party and someone reminds you that you have to do your income taxes when you get home. You can still be at the party, but it's not the same.
It's bad enough that every department I've ever been affiliated with has scheduled something for the day or days just before classes begin. Don't they know that if days could be bought and sold like Monopoly real estate, they're taking Boardwalk and Park Place away from us? Right when every minute counts--so that you can fight with the bookstore about why your books aren't in, or change your syllabus for the fiftieth time--you get sucked away into meetings whose importance may rank as a 10 on the department's significance meter but as a 0 on your own.
I did go to campus this week, and everything was as it should be: deserted, quiet, and dark except for a handful of intrepid graduate students. But what the e-mail and the ads tell me is that all too soon I'll have to ditch the shorts and t-shirt, and the writing and solitude, in favor of professional clothes and endless discussions of departmental business.
Would someone please tell these people that August is still considered a summer month?