March can be a very long month. This year it includes just a single day off for teachers and kids: the Friday just before Spring Break begins on the thirty-first. I understand that I am, in the words of Douglas C Niedermeyer, worthless and weak for whining about not having additional time along with the many and varied holidays afforded to me by the calendar as designed by public education. I know that in a previous life I was working every day that UPS was working, and if I wanted time off, I was dipping into the bank of Paid Time Off.
Here is where I drop these words: Ski Week. It is my understanding that certain school districts around the country, some of them right here in the People's Republic of California, that squeeze this observance into their schedules. It's a week off wedged somewhere between hope and despair, after the winter celebrations and the presidential worship in February and before the bacchanalia of Spring Break.
But here's the thing: Even if this time was allotted to us, I am not sure how I would respond. I know that I am not honor bound to head to the mountains, strap on a pair of skis and spend the week trying to avoid frostbite and radical knee reconstruction surgery. I could spend that time as I spend many of the breaks we get from the seemingly endless tide of classroom days, alternating between home improvement tasks and searching cable TV for movies that I have already seen. No one would have to be the wiser.
And yet, I would feel it in my heart. Born and raised in Ski Country USA, I would feel a twinge each year when that week would roll around. Why don't you gather the family together and spend outrageous sums of money to fight weather, traffic and all those other families for a place on the slopes?
Because we were never the "sporty" family. Aside from my mild addiction to running and the insistence I carry with me about riding my bicycle to work every day, the organized sports my family acknowledges are the ones found on the television between the aforementioned home improvement tasks. We are those artsy types who didn't sign up when it was time to take the team bus. Among the group of five families that clung together after our kids were promoted out of Peter Pan Nursery School, we were the ones on those winter trips that looked forward to the time inside the cabin, reading and drinking hot cocoa. When we did go outside, it was for the purpose of building forts in the snow, and waiting until it was time to go back inside and read and drink hot cocoa.
So this month will be a chore, of sorts, but not in the way that trying to make strapping boards to your feet and making it look like fun is.