I hate starving babies. And whales. And the oppressed, indigenous children of some distant country who toil their days away stitching clothes with their tiny, hard-working fingers. Or so I’m sometimes led to believe by the hordes of solicitors who swarm the walkways between Portland State University’s many buildings in an effort to yield five minutes of my time
I hate starving babies. And whales. And the oppressed, indigenous children of some distant country who toil their days away stitching clothes with their tiny, hard-working fingers.
Or so I’m sometimes led to believe by the hordes of solicitors who swarm the walkways between Portland State University’s many buildings in an effort to yield five minutes of my time, a small donation or my signature that signifies, in its own small way, that I support their cause.
They don’t have much time to sell us on their efforts as we briskly head to class. So it’s understandable that the opening to their sales pitch might include whether I care enough to feed the hungry children of Somalia. To which I’ll probably answer that I’m too busy, which they might infer to mean, “I’d rather sip my freshly brewed coffee and study while their emaciated frames wither into nothingness,” or “I hate starving babies.”
But among the thin crowd of students attending school during summer the solicitors are noticeably absent. And the suspicions bred by solicitors’ aggressive nature that anyone introducing themselves to us in the Park Blocks has a forthcoming sales pitch seem to dissipate, making interactions with strangers more pleasant.
It’s just one of the many joys of summer school, traditionally the time that students head elsewhere to spend most of their weeks under an office building’s fluorescent lighting and earn some money for the following school year.
Tradition has it all wrong. A full-time school schedule offers flexible hours that allow us to go outside and enjoy the afternoon at nearly anytime we want. Work generally doesn’t give us this convenience.
It would make sense to substitute school for work in the summer if we lived in Alabama or Texas, where the temperature soared upwards of 100 degrees last week. I’d rather be in the cool womb of an office building filing away medical reports than sitting in that swampy, oppressive atmosphere.
But an Oregon summer brings clear skies and temperatures that appear locked around 70 degrees. Fast forward to the winter months and it’s constant rain with a bleak blanket of clouds that never seem to dissipate. That seems a better time to trade the convenience of school’s flexible hours for the cozy warmth of an office building.
So I’ll take school, as I write this piece on a June afternoon, sitting outdoors under clear skies in a blanket of 70-degree weather. It’s one of the many joys of summer school.