Hot Slow Summer

We are having another New England heat wave, the sort of weather that drives the classic (and classist) separation between those who can afford to bunk off to the coast or the cottage on the lake this time of year, and those who stay in the sweltering tenements, all of life packed in tight, elbow to corner, too many people in too small a space. The nights echo with music and squealing tires and laughter and sirens.

It has not helped my temper any that the city planners decided it was a fine thing to have road work under way on both of the through streets connecting my place of employment to the rest of town. The traffic has been nearly Bostonian in its density and longevity. It redefines Maine’s unofficial motto, “You can’t get there from here.” I live four miles from where I work, a ten minute drive under normal conditions, and it’s been taking thirty to forty minutes to get home. What were they thinking? They probably weren’t.

Between the traffic and the heat I was almost late and utterly flaky for an important conversation the other night about which I am being deliberately vague. I hope it went as well as I think it might have. The person I spoke with got a bit more genuine, unpolished, authentic C. than I might have intended, but maybe that was the right thing for the moment.

(I am thinking too much. Just let it be.)

I made it over to the church workday this morning to help with a bit of painting. We got done less than we might have done because we couldn’t find a tin of paint to match one of the things that needed painting. But little by little things get done.

And I heard from one of the other people there that the lady who’s been riding to church with me passed away this week unexpectedly. There was no memorial; her husband didn’t think she’d have wanted that. I am not so sure, and I am reminded that funerals are at least as much for the living as for the dead. Perhaps he didn’t think that anyone would have come. She wasn’t particularly old but she had lived a hard life, and I am grateful that she found our community. We had a few interesting conversations in the car. I will miss her – I won’t miss running over town between services on choir days, but I’ll miss her laugh and attitude – but mostly I am just really grateful for the time we had. Hail and farewell, LM.

The rest of the summer is filling up fast. I have out of town family visiting the second weekend in August, the third weekend I’m preaching at my home church, and the fourth weekend I fly out to Chicago for Fall Convocation, the start of the school year and my next big adventure. And some time in all of this I have to finish writing up my career assessment paperwork and get that down to the site in time. (I need to go check deadlines on all of this.) There are not enough hours in the week.

I am looking forward to not having a full time job. Right now we are negotiating the possibility of my continuing part-time in my current job, and I’m really, really ambivalent about that: on the one hand, I can certainly use the money and the benefits. On the other hand, I’m worried about time management (specifically my ability to commit to too much at once) and just really feeling done with that. I don’t know when it’s going to be clear, but it needs to get that way sooner than later so I can start getting answers to people who want to know what I’m up to.

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