Friday, September 10, 2010

Officially in Mouring

Hello, Constant Reader.

Every kid in school (usually in the form of a creatively bankrupt essay topic) gets asked at some point in time what his or her favorite season is.  Invariably, I always picked summer.  Maybe because I never liked being cold, which I think had a lot to do with nearly freezing to death on a parade float when I was in Cub Scouts.

It was during the Sydney Christmas Parade back in 1978 when it actually used to snow.  And be cold.  At the risk of sounding like I've got a case of the "Matlock's", back in my day we had winter storms.  Lot's of 'em.  And how did we safeguard ourselves during these winter squalls?  Why, we had a parade and sent our children out into it apparently to appease Njorl, the Arctic God of Frostbite!  And we liked it that way!

Actually no, no we didn't.  I sure as hell didn't want to go out there and wave like an idiot just for the sake of a baker's dozen people who were obviously too stupid to stay inside during a blizzard.  But my dad was one of the scout leaders so I kinda got drafted for the event.  So me and six or so other mates were sent out on an odyssey of misery and suffering.  An hour or so into it, we began to made peace with our respective gods whether it be Jesus, Vishnu or Crom.  The general consensus was that if the Antarctic-level wind chill didn't kill us, the exhaust from the Plymouth Trail Duster pickup truck that was hauling this pint-sized "Death on the Ice" recreation would.

The "float" itself was nothing but a flatbed cart wide enough to put a coupla quad runners on it.  It was done up sorta like a camping/woodland scene with a few "Chuck Brown"- style trees, a fake plastic "campfire" that lit up but helpfully dispensed no heat whatsoever and a lean-to which looked like it was built by Mr. Magoo.  Half the time there weren't even any visible kids on the float since all of us were crammed into the shelter like pint-sized university students shoe-horned into a phone booth.

Every once in awhile the procession would stop so that the scout leaders could root us out of the shelter with a rake.

"I'm cold!" one wailed.

"Why, Baby Jesus, WHY?" another lamented.  

"I can't feel my hands and feet!" I screamed.

"Just wiggle your fingers and toes and they'll warm up," muttered one of the scout leaders.

Y'know it's a pretty crushing moment in a kid's life when he or she realizes that some adults will lie right to your face and in doing so clearly indicate that they're more concerned about the proper representation of a crappy parade float versus the lives of eight innocent children.

So, yeah, I survived this debacle (barely) but it left me hypersensitive to the cold.  I've just resigned myself that between October and April (sometimes September to May on a bad year) I'm going to feel as if I'm dying of hypothermia 24-7.  I doesn't help that I have the circulation of a eighty-year-old stroke victim.  I could be wearing woolen fleece mittens with solar panels attached to them and my hands would still feel like two junks of ice.

Beyond the obvious perks of summer (meals on patios, trips to the beach, having feeling in your lower extremities) if someone were to ask me right now what my favorite season is, I'd actually say spring.  Why you ask?  Because spring guarantees good things are ahead.  It's the season of hope and promise.

I've never understood the mentality of people who think Fall is their favorite season.  Beyond the aesthetic value of looking at colored leaves (?), really, what else is there?  Cripes, if you want color, just take a hit of acid and stare at a "Yellow Submarine" poster all day long.

Beyond the presence of Halloween (still my fav holiday of the year next to "Talk Like a Pirate Day"...Y'arrrr) Fall depresses the crap out of me.  It's kinda like when you start to notice that your Aunt Bea is getting dotty 'cuz she gave you a set of prayer beads for your forty-third birthday.  You know it's only a matter of time before you go into her fridge and see cartons of milk stacked up like cordwood.

Whoa, sorry, that was too grim, wasn't it?  Okay, I got another one.  It's kinda like when your per hamster Mr. Wigglesworth stops eating and the vet tells you he has hamster cancer and...whoops!    That's worse, isn't it?  Yeah, I thought so...

Anyway, bottom line is, Fall is some grim shit.  Everything friggin' dies and, frankly, I'm tired of presiding over the inevitable every year in protracted fashion.

Also, think about all the depressing stuff that happened in September:  the dread of school starting as a kid, 9-11, the invasion of Poland, the premiere of Scary Spice's reality show...

We won't even talk about the people that like winter the most.  Sick f#@$%.  Seriously, seek help before the sane people lock you up.

The biggest issue issue IMHO is that regardless of how  great a summer we had weather wise and how much fun we tried to pack into a few long weekends, we still feel ripped off.  The reason for this is: we are getting ripped off.  If people think that one week off in the third week of July represents a summer well spent than you've been properly deluded to the point that vacation-stingy companies want you to be.

Take me for example.  I've been liberated from the traditional 9-5:30 gig since April and this summer has still flown by like the average three-day weekend.  The only difference this year is that I packed about ten years of what once passed for summer into six awesome months.

But I still want more and kick myself for not taking advantage of it during the first few months.  After all, the circumstance I find myself in will likely never occur again in my entire adult life.  Unless I can puzzle out some way to become independently wealthy in the next six months, likely I'll soon find myself in yet another gig offering even less available vacation than I had last time.

I remember in July my infinitely wiser half said to me: "Look, I know you're working hard on your writing and job search stuff, but c'mon!  Live a little!    Enjoy some of this beautiful summer before it passes you by.  Don't have September roll around and you haven't taken advantage of all this beautiful weather."

Unbelievable.  She was right.  I currently had no boss and no binding contract demanding that I sit in a seat for eight and half hours a day underground, with my unused mole eyes slowly atrophying.   But I was still ensconced on my patio writing six to eight hours everyday.  Why was I still being so mindlessly self-driven?

It's because I'd been brainwashed.  We've all been told since day one that a minimum forty-three hour work week is normal and that two weeks of vacation time is plenty enough for anyone.  Who gives a crap how many unique opportunities we miss because of this, it's just the way things are, okay?  Stop asking questions!

And that's what I'm on about here.  August 31'st, 2010 only came by once.  Unlike Spring, it'll never come by again.  Do you remember how you spent that day?  I do.

I finally took my wife's advice.  I went to the beach by myself once but didn't dig it since the water was nigh-Arcticlike and I'm still not one to bake in the sun for hours.  But someone I know suggested I check out some lakes close to where I live I was all over that like Snooki on a guido juicehead.

During the recent heatwave we experienced between August 30'th and September 3'rd, I spent a few hours every day lakeside writing my blog entries olde-skool style with pad and paper.  I had a blast alternately lounging in the shade and sun and taking a quick dip when it got too hot.

Needless to say it was a slice of heaven.  Anyone who's still wondering what human beings are supposed to be doing with the lion's share of their time spent on this rock flying through space should take note.

I'm reminded of my buddy Mike's patented "Thatched Hut Theory".  He believes that all people truly need to be happy in life is a nice little thatched hut on a beach, some shitty twenty-hour-a-week menial job designed to keep you in food and other necessities, the capability to get drunk periodically and the freedom to spend each night sitting around a campfire hanging with your homies.

Notwithstanding the fact that he couldn't answer how my X-Box 360 fit into his little scenario, I have to admit that, the older I get, the more this kinda makes sense to me. 

Like you, Tireless Reader, I didn't get a vote in this whole "let's all be cogs in the wheel of big business-style free enterprise so that they own you lock, stock and barrel" but I've started an experiment to see how far I can scrawl away from it before I get lassoed back into place.  I don't fancy my long-term chances, but at least I'm gonna try.

By the way, I'm writing this now by the lake.  Literally the day after Hurricane Earl blew through, the temperature dipped fourteen degrees, the sun is suddenly taken by stage fright and the water is colder than a barrel of November rainwater.

F#@$%^% Fall.    


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

But... but... But Dave, I love the winter... I don't feel sick though... could that be a symptom...? ;o] - Blaine