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Labor Day, at least the american version of it, is always a bit lugubrious. The ghosts of back to school still haunt me in spite of not having been enrolled in any academic program for over a decade or having taught in one for nearly as much time. Living in the city, I don’t even really like summer with the exception of the sunlight that lingers into the evenings, but I don’t like its heat. I actually enjoy autumn the most as a specific physical condition of space and time, but don’t like the specific types of activity we fill it with. The air in the fall becomes cool and crisp, the leaves get pretty with the fading sun, and food is better. You can wait for the train and still be able to breathe without sweat rolling down your back, soaking into the crack of your ass. But I don’t like hustle and bustle we pour into the season. The summer is a bucket full of heat and putrefaction. With the fall comes work, and more work, and busyness. Still, at summer’s unofficial end, I’m always left with a strange longing for some endless period of time that is awash with leisure, intoxication, amour, and sleeping in, without ever having to work. This comes from the envious, and mostly inaccurate, feeling that everyone else has had a summer like this, and I only got a small taste.

With 9/11 around the corner, there is a path towards extending the summer for at least a solid week. They could declare it a National Holiday, and call the period of time between the two dates as a National Time of Reflection. At first, there would be more affected somber memorializing, declaring the police heroes, and lots of nationalizing, and never forgetting towards the constant manufacturing of consent for unending war somewhere, but the feeling of summer would stretch on through the national cessation of labor. Eventually the pull of beer and grilled hotdogs will overcome the weight of grief and hatred, eventually, and that final free Monday will become a chunk of time, a period of celebration, not unlike carnival.

 

We also now have hurricanes crushing up the east coast to New York, shutting the city down, and severely disrupting the flow of global commerce. Irene hit late in August in 2011, throwing things off and slowing them down for a few days, and there was Sandy at the end of October, 2012. Sandy delivered many New Yorkers at least a week off from work. The jet stream used to push hurricanes out to sea long before they had any affect on The City. There is no reason to think this phenomena won’t continue and become worse doing more and more damage, disrupting the flow of business until it is destroyed and beyond. And with Christmas now reaching temperatures in the upper 70’s far into the Northeast, we can imagine an end of summer which doesn’t unofficially come until the New Year.