Spinnin’ wheel got to go round
Life pauses before a flurry of anticipated changes
Most of the time, tech works great for me. In fact, far better than you would expect, given my overwhelming lack of skill.
But every now and then, when I hit the key or click on the link or whatever, something terrible happens. Mainly, nothing.
Now, that’s not exactly true. Something does happen. A small, round symbol appears and starts spinning and spinning and spinning. At the office, we call it the “Pinwheel of Death,” which is equal parts macabre and over-dramatic and not exactly accurate. After all, nothing is dying. It’s just that … nothing appears to be happening.
Something might happen. Then again, it might not. Then again, it might. Then again … And that’s the true evil of the Pinwheel of Death. You’re stuck in place, waiting for, well, you’re not sure what. Just something.
Welcome to the back half of summer. Official Time of Year of the Pinwheel of Death.
It starts roughly the day after Fourth of July, just about the time the last of the fireworks have been swept up, and extends until the middle of August, when something really does happen. And, it just sits there, spinning in the muggy Arkansas summer air.
Something is going to happen. Any minute now. Something …
This has already been an odd summer for us. After more than 20 years, we’re out of the secondary education business. And after 12 years, so is our youngest. For him, the next big adventure is out there, waiting, just a few endless weeks ahead.
He’s signed up for classes, checked and rechecked his schedule. He knows exactly when he’s moving in, where and with whom. He’s emailed the appropriate offices so often he had their addresses in his Favorites and they have his number on speed dial.
He’s the astronaut on top of the rocket, going through the checklist one more time before the countdown starts, the kid stuck at the top of the Ferris wheel, equally admiring the view and wondering when he can unload and get to the rest of the fair.
Now, all he can do is just sit here, spinning, spinning, spinning …
The Lovely Mrs. Smith and I are in somewhat the same boat. The last time there was not a child in our house, in at least some capacity, Ronald Reagan was president, Penn State was the national football champ and “That’s What Friends are For” was the No. 1 song of the year.
While sharing a house with a teenage boy is like sharing it with a ghost, in just a few short weeks we’ll be sharing it with a memory.
Which isn’t a bad thing. After all, the wheel turns, even if in this case it’s a pinwheel. We knew this was coming and, frankly, we’re just fine with our own company and the plans we’ve made for the days ahead.
It’s just that, right now, like our son, we’re waiting, waiting, waiting. Not sure what the immediate future holds, pretty sure it will be fine, but …
Something is just over the horizon for all of us and the pace to get to it is molasses slow and sticky as the monotonous summer. Whatever it is, it’s all in the past or all the future, and the present is just a heat shimmer and a v-stain of sweat down your back.
Summer jobs are winding down, autumn dreams are speeding up and reality is setting in. For all of us, the future is something of an unknown. We’ll know soon enough, but for now we’re all just spinning, spinning, spinning.
Every morning I drive by a high school and see young men going through two-a-days, getting ready for a school year. A few blocks over runners circle the track. In years gone by, I’d perhaps have known the names, possibly have known the calendar, certainly have known at least a few of the participants. Now, none of this has any connection to me. I’m not a part of that world any more. I won’t be again.
Eventually, the pinwheel stops spinning and either I get what I asked for or I know I won’t. One way or the other, I’ve got an answer.
And in just a few weeks, one way or the other, we’re going to know the answer. We’ll all be on our way to the Next Thing, whatever the Next Thing is. Nothing will become something, and something will become all we know, our new reality.
But right now, we’re just stuck in place. Spinning, spinning, spinning …