It’s Tuesday in the week between Christmas and New Year’s, a week like no other on the calendar. It gets very little attention, for obvious reasons. There’s just not much going on.
But that does make it its own special thing, especially here. I’m not quite sure what, but in a nod to Taylor Swift, I’m going to refer to it as the “Damn Season,” at least for the moment. Back to that in a minute.
Because of the way the calendar works this year, it’s actually a regular calendar week, from Sunday to Sunday. I guess that’s part of why I’m thinking about it. It’s also partly because I have two kids who are freshmen, away at college. I’m reliving that phase of my life vicariously, at least a little. They’re back, and seeing what they’re doing makes me realize something about this particular space.
It really is a special time. The frenzy leading up to Christmas is over – for better or worse. Perhaps your gifts were a giant hit; maybe they were a big disappointment. Maybe you were lonely, on your own for the first time. Anticipation, dread, whatever – my point is that it’s over. The air is out of the balloon.
New Year’s is, of course, often a big party, and so there’s a little build-up. But not much.
It’s a week for re-assessing, for taking it easy, for not doing much. Maybe for thinking about your resolutions, and how badly you missed the mark during the year that’s ending. Maybe.
In a college town like ours, the air is especially out of the balloon. The college kids are gone; a lot of people are out of town, having traveled back to wherever they’re originally from.
For those of us who really are from here – born here, raised here, or here long enough to claim homesteaders’ rights as “townies” – that means it’s entirely our town again. That gets me back to the Taylor Swift reference; her song “Tis the Damn Season” captures the vibe of this week, particularly if you’re a young adult like the ones I’m around. They’re back, staying at their parents’ place, sleeping til noon, re-connecting with friends and exes, thinking about the road not taken. There’s an element of wistfulness about it; I remember it myself. You re-establish your high school identity, knowing full well that that time of life is already past, and in fact you’re soon going to need to get back to the business of present-day living, pointing toward the future.
But not this week. This week, you’re living in suspended animation, time standing still or slowing way down, possibly bored silly but also dreading the idea of not being bored silly.
I think I’ve changed my mind. I don’t think “Damn Season” quite gets it right, even though the song itself does. “Townie Time” is better, but not specific enough; that could also refer to early June or late July. I’m still searching for the right term.
Or maybe the very notion that it’s nameless is actually about right. So, at most, “Nameless Week.” Whatever it is, it really is its own thing. I hope you get a chance to relish it.