When you live in a college town, you can’t avoid the academic schedule. Your calendar might start in January and end in December, but really, everything begins in August and winds down in mid-May. This week is the official beginning of the onslaught of shower caddies, fans and power strips: they are suddenly for sale EVERYWHERE, from Bed, Bath and Beyond (where you’d expect it) to the grocery store (where you would not). And don’t even start on the school supplies. If you’re a pen/pencil/notepad geek like myself, this is your Christmas. Fresh folders! New rolls of tape! Things to label! Forget that I myself am not starting school. and have not been a part of all this at all since giving up teaching in 2005. I still feel that urge to stock up and buy my Carolina Week-by-Week calendar. It’s like a genetic thing.
Which kind of makes sense, as I grew up on the academic schedule as well. My parents were both professors, so their years also began in the late summer. And now, even though I have nothing to do with UNC, summer still means lawn chairs and geraniums outside the grocery store, while fall is potted plants, perfect to furnish that dorm room or apartment. And don’t forget the fan and shower caddy!
Now that I’m in town for the week, I keep ending up at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, where it’s full-on Back to School from the second you come in the door. Like I said I am not going back anywhere (except to my house, hopefully, soon) and yet I still get swept up and buy things. Plus, I get CRAZY nostalgic when I look at all that dorm room stuff, even though they are all things that I am now trying to get RID of, having held onto them for twenty-plus years. I don’t need a fan anymore, or that banged-up bulletin board. I’m forty, for God’s sake. And yet I am strangely drawn to all this newness, fresh beginnings, all wrapped up in a package. Sigh.
But life is not neat, not in the beginnings or middle or ever, really. It’s messy and crazy no matter how many fun colored bins you buy to shove your things into. I was reminded of this when we went out today to check on the floor progress and saw ALL of our stuff piled up in the garage. Inside, the floors were sanded, everything empty. A clean slate. And yet, really, our lives weren’t cleared out, just moved out. They’ll come back soon, with us and the dogs and all our attendant craziness. Which, really, is just how it should be. But I did stand there and savor the emptiness, if only for a moment.
In other news, we’re getting closer and closer to having a cover for my new book, What Happened to Goodbye. So excited to share it with you guys, when the time comes. It will be out in May 2011. What else? I watched The Runaways with Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart and liked it MUCH more than I thought it would (although, unlike my husband, I did not recognize all the punk music on the soundtrack). My dogs are at the kennel, being spoiled so rotten by the vet employees that I fear they’ll not want to ever come home. And town is filling up, up, up. I can feel it happening, even as I write this. Hear that? It’s the sound of someone dragging a rubber tree plant and a couple of power strips to their car. Here comes the fall….
Have a good day, everyone!