Friday, November 08, 2002

I'm thinking about seasonal changes. Literal, not metaphorical. It's funny how the weather affects your worldview. I associate certain feelings with certain times of the year. I probably wouldn't feel as I do about the world if I didn't have Ohio weather, and American, Christian holidays to celebrate.

When I was growing up, I loved fall. Fall was always a happy time because I wasn't quite sick of school yet for the most part. And there was always fun stuff to do like jumping in the leaves. Fall was the nicest time of the year to go hiking in the woods. Summer isn't any good for it because it's too hot and sticky in the daytime, and too mosquito-ridden at night. Winter isn't any good because it's too much work pushing through the snow even if you can stand the cold. In Spring, you have the rain to worry about. And it seems, as soon as it stops raining, it's too hot and close to Summer to enjoy a walk. Fall means Thanksgiving, which is the noblest holiday, and also Halloween, which is the most fun. Fall was my favorite time when I was little.

Fall isn't as much fun for me now. Mostly because going outside doesn't mean as much to me as it used to. I rarely walk anywhere. Forget jumping in leaves. The joy of jumping in leaf piles no longer trumps the misery of allergies that the action inevitably brings about. I don't even dress up for Halloween. I'm lucky to see the extended family on Thanksgiving, we're so disjointed these days. The only really happy thing about Fall is that it means it's cider season. I love cider.

Winter is coming. And that used to make me happier too. When you're little, winter means sledding and snowball fights. It means the joy of writing messages in the frost of your school bus window with your fingernails. We wrote things like "Hi!" and "Help!" and "Jack Frost Wuz Here!" Now it just means going out in the freezing cold to scrape ice off my stupid car windows. It means driving terribly slow, and worrying about black ice and finding the right lane when snow's covered everything and you can't see the markings on the road anymore.

Winter used to mean Christmas. And Christmas was better then. Then I only knew about getting presents and Santa. Now I know about having gifts rejected and dealing with difficult people. Now I know how empty materialism can be when there isn't any familial love behind it. Now I think about the people I know who'll be enduring Christmas alone because they don't really have any family left. I think about the kids I grew up with who weren't allowed to celebrate Christmas, for one reason or another, and I feel bad that they missed out on something I don't even really enjoy.

Winter also meant New Years and New Years meant parties with my nephews and nieces. We'd dance, and pretend to beat each other up. And at midnight, which seemed really late, we'd bang on pots and pans and dance around because a new year had come and we were finally older somehow. It was always funny to see my otherwise sober parents drinking a beer or two, since they really never did it at any other time of the year. Now New Years means struggling to either get invited to a party because I don't want to be a loser and spend it home alone, or getting out of a party I don't want to go to because it involves people I don't really even like that much. It means watching idiots drink themselves silly and puke on my shoes.

I think religious people have a better time of most holidays. If I thought of Christmas as the birth of my savior rather than the holiday which requires me to spend vast amounts of money on ungrateful twits, I'm sure I'd find it more endearing. If I thought of Easter in terms of the triumph over death and sin, I'd probably have a certain joy about it that I currently lack. What's there to be happy about after you stop getting Easter baskets? Maybe I should give something up for lent, just to add a little meaning to an otherwise meaningless holiday. But then again, why bother that? I guess there's always the food to look forward to.

This blog is descending in accordance with my mood. If you want to know how I feel right now, go download the Red House Painter's song "Have You Forgotten." Don't download the version that was on the Vanilla Sky soundtrack. Get the old one, it's better.