I see kids today doing their homework while reclining on their beds.
People of my age did not do that. We used desks. If you are a contemporary of mine, I bet you remember taking great pride in your desk and feeling like a real hot shot when you organized your drawers with your new school supplies and, then, topped it off with your new green blotter. I even had a special desk lamp! Yowza! Sitting at that desk, I felt like I was in the Oval Office.
That feeling lasted for the first week and a half of school. Then, I started hating homework, messing up the drawers, and listening to songs on the radio like Runaway by Del Shannon.
But, anytime my parents came in the room, there I was, at my desk, looking studious.
I think desks were a part of my parents’ American Dream. Desks were ergonomically designed for work, and hard work meant success.
Speaking of success, as those of you who follow my blog know, I married Jerome, the Great and Good. We bought a home in what our parents called, God’s Country, because it was forty-four minutes from the Bronx. Also, our home was a real house, not an apartment with a screen door on the third floor or the elevated train running outside the living room.
Jerome and I bought two Adirondack chairs for our backyard. OK, so the chairs are plastic, and they are not exquisitely carved by Native American craftsman. When you pull into our suburban driveway and see those two forest green plastic chairs under the trees on our dried up brown grass, you can almost hear the call of the loon and the howling of the wolf.
Unless you’re an astronaut manning a control panel during takeoff, Adirondack chairs are not designed for work. True, you can set your glass of iced tea down on the wide arms of an Adirondack chair, but if you drink your iced tea in your reclining position, you may choke to death on an ice cube.
The green plastic Adirondack chairs in our backyard are not suitable for reading a book, or writing a personal manifesto, or even a shopping list.
Adirondack chairs are only good for looking up.
Looking up is great, perhaps even greater than doing homework. There is never a test on “looking up,” and you don’t have to study for it. Often I sit in my Adirondack chair, look up and think about the same stuff I thought about as a child. I count the leaves on a branch of a tree. Then I try to figure out how many leaves there are on the tree. Then I think about all the other trees on my block, my town, my state, my country and the world. Then I feel alive, even more alive than I felt when I listened to Runaway by Del Shannon.