If one must endure a heatwave, I supposed the best way to do it is with a fever of 101. While others sought the breeze of fans and AC vents, I basked in the warmth of my car and wrapped myself in blankets when I got home. I blame Karen B for bringing on this pestilence. She shared it with both of us in mid-June, and we have all been suffering relapses since then. This latest bout was heralded by fuzzy-headedness and a soreness in all my joints.
Of course, with the heat comes the warnings about air quality. The signs on the way home advised commuters to carpool because of an "Orange Ozone Alert." This was indeed a description of the color of the air, and not a description of the color of the warning. Constructions crews were kicking up tons of red dirt that just hovered in the air, cutting long-range visibility. The Powers That Be won’t admit that there is a problem. You will see the words "ozone" and "haze," but never the words "smog" or "pollution." Greenville recently challenged an air quality report, blaming the numbers on a faulty sensor at GSP Airport. I guess if they (TPTB) don’t say it out loud, it isn’t so.
And so this academic break grinds to a stifling end, and with it almost all vestiges of my life as a teacher. I’m now a full-year employee (instead of eleven months as I had been) and my department has been restructured. I’m no longer listed under Curriculum and Instruction, but Support Services. We’ll see what further changes that brings.
Speaking of the Summer (or Winter) of our Discontent, that phrase from Richard III is taken out of context and misquoted, as are so many of Shakespeare’s phrases. The actual opening line is "Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer…" In other words, the harsh winter is over, and summer with all its opportunities has arrived. Ah, if only that were so. I guess we have Steinbeck to thank for the change of meaning.
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lowered upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths,
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments,
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visaged war hath smoothed his wrinkled front,
And now, instead of mounting barbed steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.