Wake Me Up When September Ends
Hey, Letters readers, once again it’s Robby from Brooklyn, who by the time you are reading this will be back in NYC and sadly not playing Kadima on Poodle Beach. Like sands through the hourglass, time moves quickly and before we knew it September and Labor Day were upon us. I literally remember seeing the Pie Ladies on July 4th like it was yesterday!
As we age it seems the days and months fly by even faster, if possible. I cannot believe I am in my early (cough cough) 40s! The month of September is probably the most polarizing month of the year: many love it, and just as many hate it. But easily the ‘most hated month’ honor (especially for those of us in the Northeast) is January. It shows up right after the merriment of the holidays. January is cold, dark, and bleak. It feels six weeks long. Throw in a blizzard or two and it is downright miserable. But I digress—back to sucky September.
Growing up, I literally lived on the beach in the summer. Days were spent swimming; nights, at bonfires. I loved it so much I became a lifeguard and water safety instructor. Returning to school was somewhat traumatic for me; leaving my summer friends was devastating to preteen me. Tears were not uncommon. However, after a day or two with my school friends, the sadness of missing the beach was quickly replaced with excitement at the prospect of the upcoming school year filled with events like swim team practices, meets, pep rallies, the spring musical. (Yes, I was in the drama club!)
Cut to a decade later and Robby becomes Mr. Dominic, or Mr.D, high school/middle school English teacher. And come September I find myself in the same predicament, sad at the prospect of summer ending. Labor Day weekend was NOT a joyous and fun weekend. At all. After summer break any teacher—even the most committed “I love my students like my children” slash “my classroom is an exact replica of Hogwarts” overly-enthusiastic teacher—dreads those first weeks of school.
The Lana Del Ray banger, “Summertime Sadness,” holds special meaning to me, and probably many of my Fire Island housemates, as they would hear it on repeat all weekend long. Sorry guys! One Labor Day, my teacher friend Jenna and I just sat on the couch all day in our pajamas, Netflixed and chilled, and had all our meals delivered. Maybe some sad Dido songs were played, lol.
So, students, teachers, those with summer shares…probably not the biggest fans of our friend Mr. September.
But wait, don’t feel bad for him, he is loved and adored by many. At the top of the list are parents sending their kids back to school. After weeks with their own “perfect, extremely well behaved,” children, they show up at parent drop-off that first month with huge smiles on their faces.
And in towns like Fire Island, Provincetown, and our own Rehoboth Beach, September also is beloved. Scores of people cite September as their favorite month. Full-time residents, retirees, second home owners—each sees September as much-needed quiet time. Reservations are easier to get and traffic is lighter. Life returns to the off-season ‘normal.’ Restaurant and bar staff can finally have a weekend night off if they want. It’s like the collective group of us is going back to the minors after playing for the Yankees.
Many of us return often for a weekend throughout the year, whether for a prime time holiday or a Rehoboth Beach holiday (Sea Witch®!). So this year I will try not to wallow in sadness this September. Looking at a the glass half-full in September means that Halloween—aka Gay Christmas—is right around the corner! And it could always be worse: it could be January. The horror! Once we pass New Year’s, just wake me up when January ends. ▼
Robert Dominic splits his time between Brooklyn and Rehoboth Beach. He writes for publications including Instinct Magazine and his own blog, The Gays of Our Lives. When he is not writing he is probably at Poodle Beach.