It has taken me a while to figure it out, and I am the first to admit it is hardly a Kubler-Ross like - Denial / Anger/ Bargaining/ Depression/ Acceptance analysis yet it is grudgingly apparent that my summer holiday patterns in a similar way each year....
First I go through of the time of the desperate workaholic withdrawal jitters marked by an empty email inbox and excessive posting to the blog, this is soon overshadowed by a period of the sort of alcohol consumption seen only on the crayfishing boats moored in Milford Sound –( I know I know but it is the only way to survive those mandatory festive interactions with ones relatives.)
Then comes the time of Auckland's heat wave - much like living on the fringes of a blast furnace, followed by living with excessive humidity and then living with a population explosion of flies, an interlude requiring the 24/7 inhalation of insecticide laced air,
Next comes the time of the New Year resolution purge – eschewing colonic irrigation I choose instead to make repeated visits to the Salvation Army bearing boxes of stuff that no longer fits in the house, and to order a 6m cubed skip to accommodate everything the Salvation Army will reject.
The New Year bank statement and the need to launch an Edward Scissorhands attack on all credit cards is matched by creative efforts to disguise ground hog day meals of left over Xmas ham – a time all too soon confronted by the need for post scissoring empathising with those made distraught by examination failure in the right subjects, and examination success in the wrong subjects.
And then just when I am empathied out, I am rewarded with the summer infestation of fleas.
I have always much admired the sensuous flea, most especially the use of the male flea’s antennae during copulation to reject the missionary ”status quo “- After all who could you resist that lateral flattening when it is combined with all that “during copulation, the male flea takes up a position beneath the female flea holding her firmly with his antennae from below”;talk.
"Holding her firmly with his antennae" would be a great title for a science fiction novel or a blog post.
But the lines of flea bites circling my torso and ankles (one is much longer than the other), means it is time to launch my own confrontational pro insecticide attack upon two dogs, two cats, and all floors and bedding in the house, followed by a reckless anti-itch histamining of all the profoundly itch irritated occupants of the house. A time that makes me wistful, about the return of DDT. Forgive me Rachel, forgive me.
Surviving the fleas sees me forced to confront the very real approach of the day job, and the knowledge that I will be expected to have an articulate and defensible position on all the latest educational imperatives that have arisen over the summer - things like the Ministry of Education’s Antisocial Test for three year olds (I wonder if this is a good thing given the number of parliamentarians who on the basis of their unnecessarily gladiatorial behaviour as adults would surely have failed as three year olds) and the Massey University lunchbox research showing only one in ten kids has food in their school lunchbox that meets the nutritional guidelines for children.
The Massey lunchbox research is interesting in that it goes further than simply measuring what is in the lunchboxes – and includes tracking data for what is thrown into the bins. A thought that makes the day job seem quite attractive.
“Worse news was to come after lunchtimes, when Dr Dresler-Hawke emptied all the rubbish bins in the schools to assess what was actually being thrown away. More than 80 per cent of the unconsumed items were sandwiches, fruit and dairy products.
“We collected all the unconsumed food, spread it out – it was incredible, the amount of healthy food like sandwiches, not even unwrapped. Good, nutritious fillings including tomatoes, cucumber and cheese sandwiches. Bananas never peeled, yoghurt not even opened – a real waste.””
With all this focus on identifying antisocial three year olds and measuring the lunchbox sandwiches in rubbish bins, I predict it will not be too long before teachers will be arguing that the disengaged, and disruptive should be excluded from receiving any schooling from the state education services – using the same arguments that family and hospital doctors in the UK are using to moot that the health services should not treat the old and the unhealthy.
Smokers, heavy drinkers, the obese and the elderly should be barred from receiving some operations, according to doctors, with most saying the health service cannot afford to provide free care to everyone.
Fertility treatment and "social" abortions are also on the list of procedures that many doctors say should not be funded by the state.
Hang on a minute this is not much of a prediction .... this kind of thinking has already started amongst the staff and board at Westlake Boys in Auckland. only at Westlake it is homework, punctuality and attitude that will be targetted.