Like most workaholics, I struggle with this thing the rest of you call “summer.” Now, I do understand the basic idea: You don’t go to the office. You don’t check your e-mail. You sit on things like boats or beaches and talk to other humans whom you call “friends” or “family.” You sometimes grill meat or fish outdoors, you drink alcohol while it’s still light outside and you don’t talk about kids’ TV.
Now, I understand that this gives some of you a feeling of calmness and well-being. But not me. I can’t do it. I’ve tried and I just get bored before noon. Or maybe 10:30.
It’s not that I don’t like spending time with other people. I do. But only for about an hour or so at a time. After that, I have to start searching for things to say like, “Have you seen ‘Inception?’” or, “How ’bout that mosque at ground zero? Wow. Whaddya think?” It may be that I’m just not good at making conversation but I’ve yet to attend a dinner party or a barbecue that I wasn’t happy to leave. (Which is why, I suspect, I don’t get invited to them anymore.)
On a semi-related note, Mary and I got a puppy recently, a mini-Australian Shepherd which, despite my protests, Mary named “Buffy.” (I wanted to name her something more working class like “Bo” or “Flo” but Mary wouldn’t have it. So “Buffy” it is.) Now, in addition to being perhaps the cutest and sweetest puppy on earth, I’ve also learned a few things from Buffy about the source of my own work habits.
If you’ve seen “Babe” then you know that Australian Shepherds are “working dogs.” This means that after many generations of pairing the hardest working boy dogs with the hardest working girl dogs, we humans have created an entire breed of canines that actually love to work.
In fact, if Australian Shepherds are not given a task to perform (i.e., chasing a sheep, catching a ball or digging a hole) they’ll most likely do something you don’t want them to do, like turning your red Crate & Barrel couch into confetti.
I can identify.
I’ve learned from Buffy that I am the human equivalent of a working dog. For me, work is play. And sitting in a beach chair for more than ten minutes with a John Grisham novel and a watermelon mojito is work. But writing this blog (which is not due for two weeks) on my first Sunday off in over a month is, for me, play. I like being what my old friend Essie Chambers from Noggin calls a “work martyr.”
Now, I’m not saying this is good. I’m not endorsing this lifestyle or asking any of you to feel guilty for not returning my e-mails for, what is it, three weeks now?
In fact, if you believe my therapist, holidays are actually quite important and make one healthier, happier and more productive. Coincidentally, she’s on holiday herself this week, which probably explains, at least in part, my current state of agitation. (She shouldn’t feel guilty either.)
But I refuse to take a holiday this summer. In fact, I deny summer altogether. And so does Mary. And Buffy. No Thai cooking classes for us. We’re staying home this August. I’m making my preschool shows. Mary started her own small business (AnythingButTheGym.com). And Buffy learned how to catch a tennis ball. We’re a little family of working dogs.
But please don’t feel sorry for us. Just hurry home from your beaches, your boats and your barbecues and respond to our e-mails. Or we’ll eat the couch.