First of all, get your heads out of the gutter. It’s not that kind of stripping.
I live in New England, where the weather changes faster than my wife’s attention span. And with the exception of the summer months, it’s usually cold. It’s not out of the realm of possibility to get a huge snowstorm in early April or snow in October. So with the exception of the summer months, the whole region goes into a bitchy, collective hibernation from November to April. We endure snowstorm after snowstorm, shovel and re-shovel and people generally get ready to go on a killing spree by mid-March.
But then, usually in early April, all of a sudden we get what I call “Strip Down Day.”
SDD is the first day of the spring when the weather climbs into the 60s. And I won’t be able to do it justice if you haven’t lived through it, but a weight is lifted off an entire region’s shoulders. It’s a day when ghostly white bodies peek out from their shuttered houses and manage a smile for the first time in months. People go for bike rides. They ride with the windows down. And they’re in such good moods some of them even manage to use their turn signals and allow other people to get in front of them in traffic.
But most important, it’s the day that all the women ditch their frumpy winter sweaters and show some skin. They’re in sundresses, shorts, small t-shirts, tank tops, sports bras and spandex. In college, when we knew Strip Down Day was coming, everyone skipped class. And it wasn’t even looked down upon by our professors because it was an unwritten agreement that it was OK to do. We’d drink all day, sitting in the sunshine on our front porches, watching the stripped down girls go by.
Sure it might go back to 35 degrees and rainy the next day, but it didn’t matter. Once Strip Down Day arrives, spring officially begins.
Today is Strip Down Day and not a minute too soon. Although I can’t get drunk and check out hot girls strolling by anymore, Strip Down Day has taken on a different, but equally important meaning. So today, sore from a 1-mile run yesterday, I wiped the dust off the jogging stroller and plopped Will in it and we went for a run along the Cape Cod Canal.
It was awesome.
Will has been in a grumpy mood since he received his vaccinations Thursday, but when I started pushing him along the water he never made another sound. He was perfectly content to feel the sun shine down on him and the gentle breeze hitting him head on. As I hacked my lungs out and nearly keeled over bounded down the bike path, he stuck both of his hands out to the side like he was ready to take flight.
People in New England are not friendly. We don’t look at each other or say hello as we pass by on the street. Our motto is “mind your business.” But Strip Down Day is a temporary reprieve. That, and the fact that I was pushing the cutest baby in the world, had close to a dozen people waving or actually stopping to say hi and tell me how beautiful Will is.
It took me nearly 23 minutes to run 2 miles but I didn’t care and neither did Will. Father, son and warm weather equals bonding time and I loved every minute of it, even though we never spoke a word to each other.
Besides, his cuteness distracted people from a 237-lb man trying to jog without having a heart attack.