Ruth Leonard, RPH, the Clinical Pharmacy Manager for Regence, cares about you. This is what I gather from the clinical and vaguely stern letter that comes with warnings of summer depersonalization. Physical and mental changes happen in these seasons, she warns, or advises–I can’t tell.
It’s a hilarious letter. The same litany of troubled mental states and symptoms listed in the winter holiday warning letter are presented here, for spring and summer. Spring and summer are a depressing time in the Pacific Northwest, I presume from the loss of our beloved clouds. Regence wants us to be prepared.
The letter is also not funny. Summer was fun mid-elementary school, drifting down to middling enjoyment and then at least not having to be cooped up in school by high school. Endless, silent suburban summer afternoons hiding inside from the Texas heat beating down, listening to the air conditioner’s quiet struggle while Green Acres and I Dream of Jeannie played on mid-afternoon UHF rotation. I remember each house sitting like an empty bunker on some silent battlefield, the conflict played out in deep time. Bits of that time were there on the edges, in the hayfields and down in the creekbeds choked with garbage, the cicadas deafening, the sky pressing down with its sun-filled belly. I remember Paul there, turning over some construction debris. I was holding a stick poking at some drywall, and something crystallized. There is something that is not here. There is something the grownups are not telling us.
During summer, I received bits of news, fragments of the other kids all compressed together during school. Just a few, very small bits. Back in school everyone asks how was your summer? Everybody said it was fine, shrugged, laughed a little. Well-off and popular kids laughed louder and related adventures that involved airlines, but most kids were poor, talked about riding horses, swimming in the city pool. They were bored too, and here we were, back in boredom’s temple.
Maybe this letter applies to adults with children. Today’s parents are beside themselves with enriching their kids and shuttling them everywhere in a two-ton SUV, and this must be very wearing. If the kids are let off their ADD/ADHD/”opposition disorder” meds they must present uncomfortable challenges. The lack of meds must beget parental meds, I assume from the letter. You’re depressed because you remember having summers off, and now you have to work extra hard to provide for kids when they are free.
But it’s hard to be worked up about it. Make your kids ride the bus, if they aren’t in year-round school anyway. It’s not necessary to buy into the fashion of overstimulating children to improve college entrance success. I have decided part of summer’s wisdom is learning to be bored. Kids need to feel time stretch out and not feel lost. It is good to feel small and learn that is different.