I am the opposite of a bear – I hibernate during the summer. For all of you summer enthusiasts who think it’s cold when it hits 40°, who say to me, astonished, as if I personally brought in the fall, “How can you like winter? I love the summer, I can’t wait for it to get warm,” I invite you to stand on a sizzling New York City subway platform in July, or walk five humid Washington, DC blocks, one government building after another, with no shops or bodegas to stop in for a cool drink. So say I, the Southerner.

The one nice thing I have to say about the summer, which of course the winter has a well, is contrast. I appreciate the feeling of being hot and stepping into a cool, air-conditioned building (at least for the first five minutes until you can no longer reconcile your 90° outfit and the 65° air- conditioning).

I view the contrast between time spent at work and time away from work in much the same way. My husband and I spent the July 4th holiday doing seven loads of laundry, cleaning the entire apartment, and cooking for hours. Compared to a work day, however, it felt like a vacation. Though I suspect laundry, cleaning, and cooking would cease to feel like a break if that was our everyday experience.

Work is tiring. And who hasn’t fantasized about winning the lottery to spend his or her days in complete freedom? But if the fantasy came true, would we maintain the appreciation we gain from the contrast?