Maxed Out 

Back to school, and stay there

By G.D. Maxwell

The surgeon who reattached all the things that differentiate my finger from a salami threatened to void my warranty if I touched a keyboard this week. Having come to the painful realization that (a) I will never become left-handed and (b) typing with one hand sucks, I’ll have to defer to his superior judgment. You get a modified, updated, barely-recognizable, seven year-old rerun; I got to sleep in this Wednesday.

Whew! Squeaked through another one. If this were almost any other tourist trap, er, resort in North America, the major activities in town right now would be nailing plywood over windows and doors, storing the remaining inventory, totting up the receipts for the season and thinking about leaving town, close on the heels of the recently departed summer circus.

But it’s not. We’re not. This is Whistler, the resort that never sleeps, merely dozes fitfully through rapidly shrinking shoulder seasons. So between now and whenever we get enough snow to open the mountains, we’ll mostly work like crazy getting ready for the next invasion. A restaurant reno here, a presto-chango business failure/new opening there, another link or two in the never ending chaining of our local culinary experience, a bump in prices, a couple of thousand lattes to fuel the mayhem, and just maybe a short vacation for the fortunate.

However, for those of us who legitimately – or through some social/genetic inability to mesh our gears to strictly adult rhythms – dance to an academic tune, it’s a new day dawnin’. School’s in. Welcome to the official end of summer and the start of another school year, local style.

No matter how many years have intervened between now and my last Fall semester, no time of year feels quite as much like the new year as this time of year. The cycle of school-summer-school, is forever ingrained into my psyche. I’m sure it has something to do with the exceedingly long period of my life I spent in university. Partly the result of indecision, partly by design, largely because Richard Nixon couldn’t find peace with honour in Vietnam, and in no small measure because I moved to Canada, my pursuit of higher learning commenced in one decade, spanned the entire succeeding one and spilled over into a third. I was a professional student.

It was a good life. The schools I attended – cactus league as opposed to ivy league – had what would be thought of today as really cheap tuition. Student loans were easily available unless you wanted to study education or basketry, bore less interest than a long-winded sermon and didn’t have to be paid off until well after graduation, a goal I was certain I could defer into the next century.

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