Summer’s end is coming much too quickly for shut-in
Hinsdale 11/20/07 Western Springs Columnist: Vicki Gonia Doings photo by Steve Johnston
Updated: August 3, 2012 5:40PM
Summer. Right when I think I’m smack-dab in the middle of it, I’m reminded that it has to end. Emails start rolling in with reminders of the start dates of school and registration dates and school supply sales and I just think “Wait! I haven’t started enjoying the season!”
I haven’t much, if only because it’s been so darned hot, I’ve spent most of my summer days huddled inside with a sweatshirt on to ward off the chill of the air conditioning. I despise air conditioning, I really do. I feel imprisoned in my own home (note to anyone gathering evidence that I’m out of my mind: what follows is a good indication of it). When I have the air conditioning on, I feel like I’m required to be inside. Like if I go outside where it’s hot, I’m wasting money by keeping an empty house cold. Of course, it’s not empty. My pets don’t much enjoy the heat, being covered in fur. And why have it on if I’m just going to go outside and sweat anyway? I know, I have issues.
With all the windows shut tight and the blinds closed to keep out the sun, I feel like a shut-in. I guess because I am a shut-in. I can’t hear the chirping of birds and the noises of kids playing. It’s like the entire world has disappeared and I’m the only survivor. Working from home doesn’t help matters much.
March of time
With the end of summer rapidly approaching, I’ve decided the only way to ward off the endless march of time is to do whatever I can to enjoy what remains of the season and reconnect with the outside world. I know, most of you already do this without obsessing. Be glad you’re not me.
I’m going to go camping, ride my bike more, swim in a grubby lake, have a picnic in the park, do all of my grocery shopping at farmers markets (or, as much of it as possible), play frisbee, spend whole days in my bathing suit, have a bonfire, roast some marshmallows, eat some s’mores.
I’ll be so busy doing all this stuff I won’t even notice when summer ends, and I can cease spending the remaining summer hours fretting and complaining about the fact that it’s almost over (one can hope).
Speaking of riding bikes more, I recently went over to my parents’ house and, when going to the garage for something, noticed my and my brother’s Schwinn 10-speed Varsity bikes leaning against their kickstands in a corner.
My father generally doesn’t like stuff, but if he hangs on to anything for 30 years, it’s definitely going to have some serious sentimental value. For example, he saved for me the very first book I ever wrote: The Purple Polka-Dotted Puppy Dog. Full of hand-drawn illustrations, and about three words per page, covered with leftovers of the wallpaper that covered my bedroom when I was 4-9 years old, The Purple Polka-Dotted Puppy Dog was something I hadn’t had a moment’s thought of in more than 20 years, easily, when he handed it to me.
So I was a little surprised to see my bike. It was green, and I bought it with my own money. It was my main source of transportation before I got my drivers license, and often after. It was my pride and joy, and I’d pretty much forgotten it existed.
I don’t know why I’d be surprised to see it, however. I just don’t know where on earth my father had been keeping it. He’d saved my first bike, also a Schwinn (were there any other bike brands in the early ’70s?). It was yellow, with a glittering banana-seat and tall chrome handlebars, and my daughter rode it for years before she grew out of it. I could probably auction it off for a million dollars, but who on earth could part with a 40-year-old bicycle in great condition that’s been ridden by two generations?
Come to think of it, my father also saved my tricycle, which now resides in his basement and gets ridden by all my nieces and nephews.
My father had pulled the green Varsity out from wherever it had been hiding for the last 25 years, probably hoping that I’d take it home. Which I did.
And who’s riding it now? My son. We took it to Terry’s Bike Shop over in Countryside and they spruced it up and oiled it and gave it new tires, and another generation rolls along. How cool is that? I’m actually kind of jealous, except for the fact that it still has the original seat, which is about as comfortable as a rock.
Readers can contact Viki Gonia by leaving a message at (708) 824-8027 or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.