Spring Break is a lot of things. It's a time to exhale, forget about functions, formulas, Foucault, and failing grades, and coax your blood pressure down to a rate that doesn't make your forehead resemble a topographical map of Utah. It's an opportunity to catch up on reading, sleep, and episodes of "The Office." It's an excuse to head south and reintroduce your pasty, translucent skin to the long-forgotten phenomena of "sun," "warmth," and "body shots."
But despite its virtues, Spring Break one thing above all: a tease. It is Old Man Winter's philandering daughter: She flirts with you, gives you flowers, and makes you feel warm all over. Then she leaves and doesn't call you for two months.
Allow me to share my own tale of seduction and heartbreak.
I spent my first week of the holiday working on a house in Mississippi, where temperatures averaged 70 degrees Fahrenheit. I, and a handful of Bowdoin compatriots, worked under the sun and slept under the stars. Some of us even dared to wear shorts...shorts! As in short pants! Back in Maine, this would have amounted to blasphemy.
This shot of summer weather put me in a state of euphoria. "Drink up!" I exclaimed as a mosquito alighted on my arm. I'd been hording my blood like a miser since October?time to spread around the wealth! And what were these green, leafy things attached to the trees? There are familiar, yet foreign. Whatever they're called, they are absolutely delightful! Good show, nature!
And what's this?natural light past five o'clock? Breeze that doesn't make my skin feel like it was rat-tailed by a facecloth soaked in lye? It seemed like only weeks ago that I had hitched a ride from Moulton Union to Coles Tower, fearing frostbite. And now here I was, wearing a T-shirt, applying lotion to my sunburned forearms.
Emboldened by the temperate climate and verdant landscape, and drunk on the notion of an incipient solstice, my travel companions and I boarded a plane headed north, prepared to hack through our remaining academic obligations with the vim of doldrum-dwellers who have tasted the sweet nectar of summer.
But optimism was soon reined in by cold, merciless, meteorological reality. Near the end of the flight, I blinked awake to the tinny "ding" of the cabin's PA intercom.
"Ladies and gentleman, we have begun our initial descent into the Boston area, where the local weather is approximately 38 degrees and overcast," crackled the inexplicably chipper voice of a flight attendant.
I blinked again. Come again? I thought, wiping drool from the side of my mouth. My ears hadn't popped yet, and I was sure that I'd misheard. Overcast I could handle, but surely she meant 38 degrees centigrade.
Deep down, I knew she hadn't. I turned toward the window, imagining that I looked a lot like Wile E. Coyote craning his head upward with a knowing expression of despair as the shadow of a descending boulder grew wide around him. Sure enough, beneath a low ceiling of oatmealy clouds, the earth was heartbreakingly, inexorably, white.
"Yeah, we got hit pretty hard this weekend," explained my mom as we sped away from Logan on the salt-stained asphalt of the Mass Pike. The front walk hadn't been shoveled yet, she told me. I shivered and turned up the heat in the car. I hadn't brought a jacket.
Adjusting to New England's lousy interpretation of "spring" was not my hardest hurdle. As difficult as it was to go from the balmy weather of Mississippi to the stubborn, chilly weather of Maine, it was even more difficult to refocus my intellectual faculties. In Mississippi, my duties involved pounding nails into wood; back at school, I was required to pound information into my brain. This process used different muscles, but was no less violent.
Transitioning to my daily schedule here was another challenge. In Mississippi, our work day began at 8 a.m., so I became accustomed to waking up early. I did not, however, become accustomed to waking up early and thinking. Example: One morning, a high-ranking member of BSG and I were charged with snapping guides for shingles. This resulted in a roof covered with lines that, while colorful, were diagonal, and therefore useless. Our site manager patiently re-snapped the guides, but I was not assigned any more "thinking" projects after that.
The point is that my brain, perhaps sensing a change in environs, also decided to take couple weeks off. It left a light on inside my head, but only to fool burglars?trust me, it was gone. In any case, it locked all the doors, so it was difficult for me to get information in there. I had to break window to shove in some emergency knowledge for my history midterm, but I'm still having trouble with the doors. I should probably call somebody.
Our annual March hiatus is great fun, but it's also a huge set-up for the two-month April Fools joke that is the second half of the semester. I mean, I split my break between hammering and lying on the couch; I can't imagine how difficult the first week back has been for students who split theirs between getting hammered and lying on the beach.
Regardless, we all had our two-week fling with Spring Break. And though it was great while it lasted, I imagine many of you are feeling the same heartache that I am. Just keep yourself busy, and don't try to call her. When she's ready, she'll return to you as the elegant mistress that is summer. She always does.