Tuesday, September 01, 2009
The end of a summer that never really was
August ended with a wet sigh and little else. The official end of summer supposedly arrives Labor Day Weekend, but even this first day of September feels like the end of something that never really happened.
It's not that the past two months were uneventful: The Boy lost some teeth, my lovely wife and I crept ever closer to forty (with my creeping becoming particularly close), we had our ten-year wedding anniversary, and we traveled to see family, the latter involving (among other things) the feeding of aggressive pygmy goats.
Much of what was supposed to happen — what usually happens — just didn't, however. The Boy was a kindergartner last year, and in New York that meant school through nearly the end of June. Then a little over two weeks out of classes, The Boy broke his arm, which (through no fault of his own, of course) kept our July beachless. He was really a good sport about it all despite being no good for any sports.
Our poor luck didn't come off with The Boy's cast, though. Work for me was, and is, a puzzle with too many missing pieces. We talked about getting away for a short trip, just the four of us, but we never followed through. And we had plans for a long weekend last week in which we'd reacquaint ourselves with the coast that is always so close to us, but Bill and Danny teamed up to close the Atlantic for nearly a week and to produce just enough rain to make being outside annoying. We did rearrange our house while the weather worked over the trees in the park, but that's about as exciting as my wife's three-day weekend got.
Danny irritated us the most. Along with two to three trips to the beach each summer, we also make a habit of Arthur Ashe Kids' Day at the U.S. Open. The Boy can play tennis pretty well, but he isn't the most motivated thing in the world. Taking him and Q out to the huge grounds for the kid activities (with prizes always donated by Hess Oil) makes him want to believe in himself. After Danny soaked all the fun out of a Coney Island trip we had planned,* it canceled everything at the Tennis Center but the stage show with all the tweens lip-synching poorly. We did attempt to squeeze a little life out of the butt of August with a Sunday trip to the Met (particularly the always cool Temple of Dendur), a Central Park playground, and Pop Burger. Q had a good time feeding the pigeons nearly half of her jumbo pretzel, but I'm sure she would have preferred Jersey sand crabs tickling her hands instead. But it is what it is.
There are so many metaphors that could ably stand in for this summer (broken arm, anyone?), but Bill and Danny let me be dramatic, so I'll let them serve. Large storms like those don't make land here in the city (thank goodness). Still, they bend our weather and waves enough to keep us inside with our faces on the glass. Throughout the summer it has seemed (and here comes the drama) like some enormous force has been spinning slowly somewhere too far away to be calamitous for us but close enough to remind us of our size, what we didn't and don't have.
I'd like to think, though, that September will remake us. Both Q and The Boy will soon go back to school, and I will be a bigger part of their lives in the months to come. There will be gymnastics (or ballet, if Q ever makes up her mind), and swimming and tennis and reading and — with the laziness of August behind me — writing. The days have already begun rolling down into fall, the most beautiful time in New York.
We can't wait for the change in the weather.
*And Coney Island was Plan B. We usually head for Robert Moses or the Jersey Shore, but both had been closed for a while.