Summer passing

August 22nd, 2012
by John Bowker

There were new medical students on the lawn when I rode up this morning, a gaggle of kids in floppy white coats being herded into lines for a photo. Suddenly and without warning I need a jacket on the scooter coming in, and there’s a little bit of shock when I submerge myself in the pool at the beginning of a workout. Maybe it’s working at a university, something the students bring along with them like naivete, but somewhere in the chronosphere there was a click. Summer has changed into something else.

It was a fast season. I spent most of July in a clinical psychology seminar, a summer session class so it condensed the usual fifteen week semester into 5. That meant after the first few sessions, life was basically read, mid-term exam, read,treatment team,readPaperreadreadFinal!. I enjoy that kind of grind and the work wasn’t particularly challenging, but the professor went a long way toward convincing me that there’d be areas of clinical psychology that would make being a tax accountant seem like a free-wheeling intellectual life. (FWIW, I come from a family of tax accountants and some of them are quite free in their wheels…bad analogy. Think Dickens here.)

To make things more hectic, somewhere right in the middle of readpaperreadreadFinal!, I attended Transformus, the North Carolina regional burn. That was a fine, gorgeous madness, both in terms of scheduling and coming into the weekend with far too little sleep and far too much gear.

The Transformus Burn, taken by Tony Rogers

Our participation involved a lot of yonic symbolism, scouting uniforms, cookies, and a wooden spoon that tattooed labia into your skin. Hooray for Techshop and Cunt Scouts forever. I understand Troop 69 out of Asheville wants a dance-off next year.

It also involved the purchase of a 54,000 BTU flame ring for steaming the hundred tamales we’d assembled the weekend before. (Want to see a trashed kitchen? Come by after a marathon tamale-rolling session.) The burner did make light work of the camp dinner but my ulterior motive was using it to get sufficient horsepower to do some serious wok cooking at home. Chinese restaurants run on high heat; it’s hard to get that semi-charred flash-fried taste on a home stove even with the gas cranked to eleven. Even 54k is on the low side but it does go a long way; back porch beef chow fun was a revelation. The dry-fried Szechuan green beans weren’t quite perfect but were more than edible as well. As I said to my friend John, it’s not that hard to use. The only trick is not setting yourself on fire…

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