Summertime Blues

Nate doesn’t drive. Nate doesn’t have friends. Nate doesn’t like to talk very much to other people. So how do we keep him busy during the long summer vacation?

Every day starts about the same.

“What are we going to do today?”

“What are we going to do tomorrow?”

 “What are we having for dinner tonight?”

“What are we having for dinner tomorrow?”

In between the barrage of questions, which get repeated all day long, Nate goes about his business: drawing, watching TV, playing video games, eating. Sadly he is a captive  in his own house, his jailer his mind. If Nate could truly connect with other people, he’d be out and about. Living in Cooperstown would make up for his inability to drive a car. He could walk to a friend’s house (though he doesn’t like to walk either), if that friend existed.

So we try to take him on as many road trips, near and far, as possible. Nate and I spent a nice day in New Hartford, near Utica, stopping at Ulta Cosmetics so he could run in for a “toilaroid.” Then we hit Barnes & Noble, followed by Nate’s favorite lunch, Five Guys Burgers and Fries. As usual, Nate gagged at the very prospect of my using ketchup, which he despises. I’d love to accommodate him, but who doesnt’ have ketchup with burgers and french fries. I’ve become adept at building Berlin Walls of paper bags and crinkled aluminum foil to shield him from his condiment foe. From there we searched, and found the new Dippin’ Donuts, home of supersized Dunkin’ knockoffs. That took up a few hours.

Nate’s summers of discontent are a problem of mine. He’s happy not going to school and doing homework, and, though he’s as bored as I was during my own summer breaks, I watch him in his solitude and feel for him. I know what he’s missing; he doesn’t.  That’s always been the solace but, as he gets older, I wonder what will change for him socially. Perhaps nothing.

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About Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.
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