LIFEGUARD ON DUTY
Memorial Day and Labor Day seem strange holidays to signal the "beginning" and "end" of summer to Americans (the mourning of lost soldiers and the rights of American workers?), but I do love the spirit with which we embrace them. Three-day weekends are a unifying gift to society, opening the door to trips out of the city, an extra day to laze, an extra day of partying, one more day to break the rules. In NY, three consecutive days off tends to empty the city of its residents and fill the place right up again with imports. This weekend coincides with Fleet Week, as well, adding to the "Who are these people?"-ness of the mix.
Most extended weekends, unless firmly requested off months in advance, I am working, aiding and abetting the brunching and dinnering of all those taking time off from cooking (just kidding, New Yorkers never cook). I see the determination in the eyes of the Friday night and Saturday morning crowd, the revelry of Sunday and the inevitable hangover and fatigue of Monday.
This weekend was a sweltering one along the eastern seaboard. Our first stretch of near 90 degree heat, and with it, multiple trips to the beach. The Memorial Day to Labor Day stretch also marks lifeguard season at public beaches and (nearly) opening time for city pools. My. Absolute. Favorite. is swimming outside. Sun on skin, not yet feeling a pinkening of a sunburn set in. Swimming outside I feel the type of happiness puppies experience: purely sensorial, gleeful, unleashed. Free of the confines of lap lanes, the public pool becomes a Family Circus cartoon following Billy's path from school to home in dotted lines. Shallow end to deep end to slide to shower to towel to locker to start all over again. With school still in session, pools stand a chance of accessibility, though on 90 degree days, you better be sure the line to get in will stretch around the corner. At the beach, the lifeguards screech their whistles from 10am to 6pm every day, with Parks Dept trolling the shores after 6:00 to prevent late-afternoon revelers from testing their levels of inebriation in moving waters.
Grateful everyone got their weekend on. Grateful they'll be back in their offices and leaving an 86 degree Tuesday to me and my odd-hours beachers. Cheers to the summer ahead!