When I was a kid, February was okay. There was the whole megilla about everybody in the class having to get valentines (remember those flimsy paper things that would fit in the palm of your hand), but usually you could express your true feelings by slipping someone a pastel candy heart that said “Be Mine.” (Today do they use textese and say B MYN?)
And there were always two school holidays in the month, one for Lincoln’s birthday on Feb. 12th and one for Washington’s birthday on Feb. 22nd. Those are gone. For most of us, they’ve morphed into the all-purpose President’s Day; for others, they’ve expanded into a concept I really don’t understand: Ski Week.
Ski week? Was this Donald Trump’s idea? How many families have the money to trundle off to ski slopes? In California, that means heading up to the Sierra Nevada or Lake Tahoe, which means SUVs, snow tires, skis, chalets – the accoutrement of the rich. What a great idea: an entire week that celebrates the chasm between the haves and the have-nots.
And frankly, I’m pretty sure the people back east have had quite enough of snow this year. The idea of getting on the road – assuming they can even see it – to find a place that has even more snow seems ludicrous.
I am becoming increasingly disenchanted with February. For one thing, I get to my desk earlier on February mornings. That’s because after the Super Bowl, without coverage of football games in the newspaper, it takes about three minutes to read the sports section. If I go slow.
And would someone please explain Groundhog Day to me? If the groundhog sees his shadow, expect six more weeks of winter? If the groundhog sees his shadow, it means the sun is shining. Why doesn’t that portend spring coming sooner instead of winter staying longer? That’s just counterintuitive.
I’m also fed up (pardon the expression) with the restaurants following the path of airlines and jacking up their prices on days of high demand. If you want to dine out with your sweetie on Valentine’s Day, be prepared to shell out about 50% more than usual for something called a prix fixe dinner. That’s pronounced pre-fee. It means that the menu is limited, but I’m confident that someday soon they’re going to take the pronunciation literally and insist on being paid before they serve you.
Because people aren’t stupid, they started celebrating the day before or after Valentine’s Day. Because the restaurateurs aren’t stupid, they started extending the marked-up prix fixe deals to the days before and after Valentine’s Day. I think this is how chess is played. Wake me when we get to checkmate. Personally, I’ve just started cooking a special dinner at home. Please don’t tell Safeway – I’d hate for supermarkets to start charging more on special occasions too.
Sigh. This may just be my mid-winter rantings. On the other hand, it’s also possible that you’ll soon be reading “Mad at March,” “Aggravated with April,” and “Miffed at May.”