Last night at 6:30, my spouse and I deliberated calling it a day and a work week and just giving in to the temptation to fall asleep for the night. But it's one thing to eat dinner extra early; after all, we can say that we're giving ourselves a few extra hours to burn calories or that we can't sleep easily with food in our stomachs or that our acid reflux might act up.
But to go to bed before the sun has even set?
So, we pondered our choices. How to stay awake until a respectable bedtime? We thought about going to Target, but wandering around a store in a sleep deprived state didn't seem wise. Friday night is a worse television night than Saturday; besides, watching TV makes me fall asleep right away.
So, we went to the beach. We went to our favorite ice cream spot and got soft serve. We thought about the time in 1998 when we first moved to South Florida and couldn't stay away from the beach and ocean which looked like no other coastline we had ever seen. We were trying to stretch our savings, so only occasionally splurged on a soft serve cone.
Our financial life has improved: I got a hot fudge sundae, and my spouse got a banana shake. We consumed our treats while watching obviously out of town children run and play.
How did we know they were from out of town? Because they called the Atlantic Ocean "the lake."
On the way back to the car, we saw a elementary school choir performing at the band shell. Actually, we heard them before we saw them. They sang, "Fare thee well, old Joe Clark." My spouse and I sang along. We got to the band shell in time for the song that they played on recorders (Either "Old Susannah" or "The Yellow Rose of Texas"--I can't remember!).
I loved their enthusiasm. I loved their teacher who had written out the notes for the recorders and the words for the songs on big pieces of posterboard. I loved the standing-room-only crowd that clapped enthusiastically.
An evening at the beach as the sun set behind us was the perfect antidote for a work week that has left me weary: weary of scheduling, weary of drama, weary of reading all the news reports that deliberated whether or not a college education is worth it. Yes, as a college administrator, I sometimes feel like a Detroit autoworker must have felt in the late 70's or the way newspaper writers must have felt in the early years of this century. I feel the landscape shifting around me, and I can't quite tell how it will all turn out.
What to do? Walk along the beach, marvelling at all the different humans, appreciating the beauty of both the natural and human-made world. And then return home, with the scent of salt air, still in our noses, to fall asleep on the sofa.