It would seem that autumn is upon us. I prefer “autumn” to “fall,” because it’s a bit more poetically melancholy, and talking about “the fall of the Bronx” just makes me nervous.”
Fall seems to be everyone’s favorite time of year, all of a sudden. Everywhere I turn, someone is happily inhaling a pumpkin spice latte or talking about how delighted they are to be wearing a skirt with boots again. I can
drink beer watch football all day! Maybe we’ll even go apple picking! I love pretending to be a migrant farm worker! Leaves!
Perhaps people are just trying to console themselves now that summer is over, or are trying to sound intellectual by acting like they never liked summer at all. (Beach books? Margaritas? Quell suburban.) But autumn is a pretty rad time of year in social work land.
Except when it’s not.
Back to School
They’re going back! I don’t have kids,so I don’t get the relief of finally getting the little jerks out of the house or no longer having to pay for expensive camp programs. (Though I do think the “yay they’re gone” cocktail parties thrown by some suburban stay at home moms go a bit far.) But I do get to go visit them in school again. That’s right, hide all you want, as long as you’re not 100% truant, I will find you. Everyone has to pop in once in a while. And there I shall be.
Not only that, I get to give out school supplies. Ugh, the smell of a freshly sharpened pencil. New, unmarred notebooks that let us know that anything is possible!
But then, there’s the flip side, as always. Are they going back, really? Often they’re not. Meaning we get calls demanding that we work our magic. “Your child hasn’t been in school this week!” Yes, that is alarming. Did you call his mom? Because he’s not actually my child. And me dragging a teenage boy out of bed in the morning would be rather controversial. Also, it’s the second week of September, how is this possibly starting already?
If they are in school, school visits aren’t always a total treat. For some reason, school secretaries hate me. I’ve tried everything short of bringing them muffins (that will be next) but we seem to have gotten off on the wrong foot. I suppose they have a top secret Do Not Serve list. They seem really inconvenienced when I call and ask if a child is in. They’re even more horrified when I then show up. I realize you’re typing, but there’s no way you don’t see me here.
But most importantly, whatever you do, do not get caught in the halls during passing! People have died.
For the first time in months, I’m not showing up to a home visit sweating like Paul Ryan at a NOW convention. I can throw on one of my beloved cardigans, as the good lord Jane Addams intended! The risk of showing up to a meeting following a run-in with an open fire hydrant or kids on a roof with water balloons is greatly diminished.
But then it gets cold. I’m that sort of annoying girl, I’m cold all the time. Battling a coworker over the thermostat, especially when your agency has no money and errs on the side of “wear a wool hat to type your notes,” is troublesome.
This is now a very hip favorite holiday to have. (Autumn is so in this fall.) And for good reason. It’s two tons of fun. Every year, without fail, I get stuck walking behind the elementary school parade of five to ten year olds, wandering in ameba-like formations around the block. It’s simply the best way to start the day. We also always have some extra candy lying around the office. You might say that’s because I steal some of what we’re supposed to give out to the kids, but I really don’t see how that’s relevant.
I get to plan the Halloween party. As much as I do love a good party, office politics make planning difficult. As do the idle concerns of those who worry that we’re encouraging devil worship. I mean, so what if we are?
Each season brings something a little different, with new challenges and benefits that you become more accustomed to as each year goes by. Autumn has the potential to be a good one.
And seriously, you can get pumpkin flavored everything.