Well, it's almost that time of year. You know, the time where all the kids from all the state colleges pack up coolers of Corona and squeeze one-too-many into their parents' cars; the time of year where the coeds gets their toenails done and pack up a towel, a top, a bottom, a brand new string bikini, a forty-pound make-up bag, three sizes of curling irons, tanning oil, and nothing else, and all head over to a lakeside resort to drink themselves into a festive oblivion.
Am I stereotyping? Possibly. Because on Memorial Day weekend, they will all head over to Chelan, which is where I will be with Mitch's family, dodging beer cans in the swimming pool and thinking bad thoughts at 3 a.m. about the students chanting intelligent, thought-provoking, wholly higher-education phrases like "Chug! Chug! Chug!" in the room above me.
But no. I must back up. Because last year wasn't quite that bad. The year before, however, was. That was the year of the students packed ten to a hotel room; the year that hotel security received more complaints in three nights than in the entire rest of the year. The year that a kid in a trucker hat offered my father-in-law a Jell-O shot in exchange for a bit of grilled salmon; the year that sitting by the pool involved nestling uncomfortably between rows of well-oiled, freakishly tanned girls--all with their tops untied and their beer within easy reach--and that swimming in the pool involved a lot of dodging, as guys tried to both flirt with any girls brave enough to get in the pool at all (I didn't) and hold their beer aloft and more or less level.
The next year was much better. The hotel instituted a green plastic bracelet policy, which meant that all paying guests must wear a green plastic bracelet at all times--and if a guest were ever seen without the almighty bracelet...well. Out they go. I felt a bit branded, but I'd say the opportunity to actually go swimming, or to actually get some sleep, made it worth it.
And this year, I'm guessing, will be even better. There are several members of the Rosenburg clan that I'm looking forward to spending time with, and several books I'm looking forward to cramming into such a short time (Collected Stories of Flannery O'Connor, here I come!), and lots of thoughtful dabbling of my toes in the water to be done. Without the constant hazard of beer cans falling from forth story balconies, I think I'll do a whole lot of mellowing out--though probably I'll end up playing "cars" and catch with my 5-year-old nephew. But that sounds pretty wonderful, too.