Every good cowboy has to walk off into the sunset, every talented thespian has a curtain call and every summer has its Labor Day. Ladies and gentleman, the end is now firmly upon us.
For some of you, that means leaping into the air in a state of euphoria with the knowledge that the roads are about to part like the Red Sea, the waiting times at restaurants are about to get much shorter and the beaches are about to become “ours” again. For others, well, the nightlife is about to get a lot more dull for the young people, the shops and restaurants are about to get a whole lot less business and the buzz that surrounds this area for four months a year is about to simply disappear across the bridge.
For me, well, mine is a mixed bag of emotions. I’m not big into crowds, so I’m obiously a little relieved when things open up and our personal space gets a little more broad. Also, from a work-related standpoint, the demands on my time and energy go down quite a bit in the off-season, so I do look forward to that small respite from the insanity of a summer workload.
That being said, I’m also a little sad when the summer comes to an end. I like seeing all the new faces every week, and enjoy living vicariously through the summer vacations of others. And, as a business owner, a small tear usually traces down my cheek as I see Labor Day approach. If summer is the time for us to make the majority of our incomes, fall and winter is the time we try to hang on to it with our fingernails deeply imbedded in our check books.
It’s a mixed bag of emotions as Labor Day nears every year, and I decided to do a little checklist to see where my true feelings fall. Let’s check the scorecard ...
• Cutting grass. Let me go on the record as saying I hate cutting the grass. First off, my yard is mainly comprised of weeds that don’t take too kindly to getting chopped down with a motorized blade, and they tend to grow back about 19 inches a day. Add to that the facts that I don’t like to sweat, I hate to do manual labor and I absolutely despise getting dirty and it’s easy to see how much I do not like cutting grass. However, Labor Day does not put an immediate end to cutting the grass and raking a seemingly infinite amount of leaves from my yard replaces cutting grass when the climate changes. Result: Push.
• Electric bill. The simmering heat this summer has led me to visibly shake and stutter whenever that little electric bill comes to my mailbox. Yes, I’ve had the air conditioning on a lot this year — hey, it’s been hot cutting that grass! But should an electric bill really make me break out in hives as I contemplate a month of eating cold cereal for dinner when I write the check? Result: Check goes to the end of summer and the need for air conditioning.
• Attire. I’m a big supporter of women walking down the street in bikinis. That being said, I’m not a big fan of Bob Bertram sitting at his desk all day in a pair of argyle socks and a blinking neon Speedo that reads “Hot Stuff” on the back side. Yeah, not a big fan at all. Result: Bikinis trump Bertram. Check goes to summer lasting longer.
• Traffic. Really? Let’s see, do I prefer being able to make a left turn or do I pick banging my head against my steering wheel while getting carpel tunnel syndrome in my middle finger? Result: Check goes to open roads and an end to summer.
• Work. Our paper is significantly bigger in the summer, so our workload increases dramatically. That’s not always fun. But the summer crowds is what brings in business, and I need some way to pay my electric bills. Result: The need to eat outwieghs the need for a good night’s sleep. Check goes to summer not coming to an end.
• Crowds. I’m not a big fan of crowds. Give me a dingy Irish bar with glasses bordering on being unhygienic and a group of barflys that look like the final roll call on “America’s Most Wanted” over a flashy nightclub with crystal glasses and an endless array of beautiful people any day of the week. Result: Crowds at the beach in summer means more bikinis. Check goes to summer continuing onward.
• Waiting in line. Nobody likes to wait in line — just like nobody likes being hit in the head with a sack of olive pits. Trust me on that one. That being said, is waiting a little bit really enough to go crazy? As my dad always said when we complained about trivial stuff, “Is that your biggest problem in life? Are you healthy? Is your family healthy? You’re a lucky guy.” Result: I still don’t listen to my dad. Lines stink. Bring on Labor Day.
Well, there you have it. My final tally is three for Labor Day ending summer, three for summer continuing to roll along and one tie.
Bikinis break the tie. Let’s keep summer humming.