In cubicles all across the country, a war is
being waged. Dedicated employees sit diligently in front
of their computers, intending to hash out the latest
corporate dilemma. But for the next few months,
the battle, if not the war, is given over to the smug
victor of the season: summer.
Computers are about logic, with hours spent adding to the GNP, streamlining processes, and
making businesses everywhere healthier and more efficient.
Summer, meanwhile, has no interest in
efficiency. Summer is about the senses, about the body we
live in and casually ignore nine months of the year.
In the summertime, we play in the sun, spend
languid hours by bodies of water, toss Frisbees,
and cook in the open air, listening to ourselves
sweat. Fundamentally, the rational computer and
sensual summer are at odds. January or June, software
works (or refuses to work) with the same mindless
consistency. People, however, are a totally different story.
After long grueling months of insulation, when summer arrives, it gives us the freedom to wear
as little as legally possible and thrill with every
little breeze across sun-warmed skin. The long days
of light add to the illusion of endless time and
the luxury of wasting it. Our recess from the calm,
cool, cloistered work of computers makes us giddy
with daydreams. The phosphorescent glow of
monitors and televisions, which seem as cozy as fireplaces
and balanced check books during the winter months,
are stripped bare of any magic during the summer.
It was 98 degrees here today. The white noise
hum of air conditioners across the city did little to
quash the creeping haze of sensual laziness. En masse,
citizens of the city de-evolved to reptilian levels.
Down by the lakes, stunned sunbathers bask, blink
occasionally, and stir only to roll over. Summer, in
full force, has arrived.
I don't think we mean to sink into utter
hedonism for three months of the year. For my own part,
I struggle daily. Every morning, I get up with the
best of intentions, and dutifully plant myself in front
of my computer. I review lists of assignments for
various employers help files, item writing, web pages.
But it's simply no use. Once I pause to peer out the
window, I fall victim to the spell. By the time my
computer has finished booting up, my concentration
is gone, flown off on vacation until the cool
September breezes bring me back.
Perhaps the war being waged with summer is just
a biochemical reaction to bursting heat and light.
Or maybe it's some leftover programming from a
childhood spent clocked by the school year. It hardly
matters. Other more dedicated souls may be able to maintain focus, but I am unable to lift out of the
hypnotic lull of summertime.
Professionally, I'm drawn to puzzles,
organizing and defining roles and rules through my work as
a technical writer. For three seasons of the year, I
find satisfaction in this work.
But in the summertime, whenever I find myself
inside, all my thoughts can gather on is being
outside. Camping trips, boat rides, swimming and
picnics consume my imagination if not my actual time
and attention. HTML, paychecks and accounts, fade
in importance when faced with impossibly fluffy
clouds and sultry humid breezes.
Throughout the coming weeks of heat and sun, productivity will plummet; a casualty of the
summer daze. Computers may be turned on, but they
are summarily ignored. And no one cares one little bit.