Friday, September 5, 2014

A summer break

    This is my Claremont Courier column coming out today.  I think it says it all. 

                                                BACKTO SCHOOL AND A YOUNG MAN’S GAME

   There were lots of choices.  Red.  Blue.  Green.  Purple. 
   “Purple, “ I said. 
   Then, I thought for a minute.  Would purple go with most of what I wear?   I do wear mismatched high-tops, not to mention rainbow laces, but I can and do change them everyday. 
   “Green. “ I changed my mind.  Green would still be colorful and interesting, not boring, but it would fit in with more of my outfits. Green goes with both blue and brown, right? 
   After all, I wasn’t picking out a shirt or some pants or another pair of high-tops.  No, I’d be stuck with this for a while. 
   Who knew that casts were now a fashion accessory, coming in a variety of bright, exciting colors?  I remember when they were all white, except when friends painted and signed them.  And who knew I would I be having a cast put on my right foot,  much less being asked what color I wanted it to be?  (It actually turned out that my cast is more of a nice, cool coral.) 
   Maybe this was appropriate, with summer ending and all that.  I’m sure there are a few students in Claremont returning  to school with a broken foot or arm.  Summer is all about adventure,  at least for students, and broken bones sometimes comes with adventure. And breaking a bone is almost a rite of passage when growing up.  
   But I have never broken or fractured a bone,  and I’m a long way from being a student.  Maybe I still have some growing up to do, even now. 
   And I wasn’t on an adventure when I broke – actually fractured – my right foot. What’s more,  I didn’t know for a while that my foot had a fracture. 
   I was just out, as usual, and barely a block from my house, when  I hit my right foot as I was going up  a curb. So much for adventure.  My foot  hurt for a day or two and then was fine.  I thought I had sprained it, as I have more than enough in the past, and that it had gotten better nice and quickly,  just in time for a camping trip (now, there’s some adventure , especially since it was the weekend of the freak rain storm).  It was not until two weeks later that I found I couldn’t stand pressure on my foot, and it swelled up like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade float. 
   It was a few days before I could get this lovely green coral cast put on, and it’s much more comfortable and really just more of an inconvenience than anything.  Imagine dragging around a five-pound weight.  But, although this is probably something a good number of people know about and don’t have to imagine, even if it might be a not unusual part of the end-of-summer/back-to-school experience,  breaking (or fracturing) a bone isn’t something I’d recommend.  I would rather have lived my life without this experience. 
   Then again, I never thought I’d in my lifetime see school in Claremont  start in late August and have it be old news now in early September. And that was late, with schools in Pomona and Los Angeles starting two earlier.  Sure, this has been the case for several years, but this is still a strange new world where Labor Day is just another holiday (and an odd one, with school just underway) and not the last blast of summer vacation. 
   No longer does Labor Day mean that it is time to get ready for school to start.  And what about white shoes?   Is it now okay to wear them before Labor Day?  Or does anyone still wear white shoes? 
   It also turns out that my palate has changed.  Either that, or school food is still school food. 
   Which is the case is tough to say.  I have remarked before on how what the college students get to eat on the campuses here is worlds away from what I had to choose from in the dormitory dining hall when I was at U.C Riverside.  Not only is the range of choices eye-popping,  with attractive vegetarian and vegan options, the food is not bad.  A long way from mystery meat. 
   Still, when I went to the school food tasting fair at El Roble Junior High a few weeks ago –this was before I found out my foot was fractured - I was reminded that, sometimes, things stay the same even as they change.  I had heard in previous yearsabout this annual opportunity to taste and rate the food to be served in Claremont’s schools and decided to check it out. 
   It was exciting, at least at  first, to see the line-up of vendors around the school auditorium.  But I have to say that the potato tacos tasted not unlike the burritos served when I was a kid in school, and the mac and cheese was just mac and cheese. Some of the granola bars were better than others, but yogurt is yogurt, and, no, I wasn’t interest in the Round Table pizza. 
   Jaded palate?  Mature palate?  I don’t know, but, as I said, it was  still school food.  As if I was expecting something else. 
   No, the thing the struck me about the Wednesday morning event was how festive it was, with families on an outing and costumed characters and face painting in the mix.  Two weeks before classes started, it was a nice, gentle nudge for going back to school. 
   Perhaps it’s the new Labor Day.  It’s certainly easier than a fractured foot. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh! John! I hope you're healing well-- no crazy dancing for a few weeks!

    The twins went back to school on August 5th... truncated summer for us :(