It's fall here in Toronto. Just this week it got crisp and chilly; everyone got a little overexcited to wear their new fall clothes, and, of course, most importantly, hockey season started.
I'm one of those people who goes around boring their friends by going on and on about how much I love the change of seasons. If you live in place that is cold in winter, and you like it well enough not to be pining for a move, you can get a little defensive about it. Even the people living around you are like, "Ugh! Don't you wish we were in Arizona?"
Well, no. Because somewhere in the top twenty or so reasons I never wish to be in Arizona there is the fact that, you know, I love the change of seasons.
So, what's so great about it anyway? It's not like I really like cold weather so much; I don't play hockey; I don't even ski.
Well, of course, the seasons each carry their own particular charms. Fall brings "fall fashions." Just today I'm wearing my knee-high boots, tights, a skirt, a shiny jacket, and a weird new scarf made partly of linen. I feel invincible, attractive, and ready for anything. It's like a cross between a gladiator outfit and a schoolgirl uniform. And yet it looks totally normal. What could be more fun and delightful?
You know cold-weather clothes are awesome because even in California, the stores all stock up on them. Sure, it's only for two weeks in January and that trip to Vail in March, but hey, don't you want that adorable matching scarf and mitten set?
You can't talk about fall and winter, though, without talking about the ways that "bad weather" can be a source of a unique kind of excitement and pleasure. Nothing makes being inside more fun than bad weather outside. Instead of feeling like "We're sitting around at home, bored," you feel, "Ooh, it's cozy and nice in here! Look at all that goddam snow!"
The corollary to this is that since you get "cabin fever" being home too much, the cold makes people gather together inside in public instead of being out pursing dispersed pleasures. All over the city, the bars and restaurants are now packed, full of people who spent the summer lolling around the beach. It's crowded everywhere. And it'll be even more so in winter.
The ice-skating rink at City Hall in downtown Toronto. Is this cute or what? Photo by Flickr user 416style, here. (Creative Commons licensed).
Also, bad winter weather lets people overcome the natural shyness that they seem to develop as they get older. When you're an adult, there's usually no real reason to stay out, to have another martini, to then exchange the kind of confidences that drinking too much leads to. We're grown-ups; we have to get up in the morning; yada yada yada.
But if the snow is piling up outside and you're going to freeze your little tootsies off as soon as you go out, the temptation is overwhelming: oh, sure, give me another one.
Of course, this last works inversely if you and your friends are driving, in which case the snow makes everyone leave early. And in general, winter weather is way more irritating and downright depressing if you drive. There's nothing like chipping ice of the windsheild at 7am on a cold winter morning to make you want to kill yourself.
I admit it. My answer is: no driving. I take the bus, and the subway; I walk; occasionally I take a taxi. Once you're on foot, the snow changes from a menace to a bunch of cottony fluff.
Of course, spring needs no defense; everyone is familiar with the obvious and totally accurate stereotype: life, love, sex, flowers. And summer, too: sunshine, tank tops, sandals.
My only complaint with the seasons is that winter is too long. It just goes on and on; you feel like you're going out of your mind. Of course, it's possible that you only feel really berserk in spring if you've suffered through an interminable winter, or that there's some proportionality or something. So it's a trade-off.
This is why I can never understand "utopias," or heaven, or whatever. How could things be perfect? You'd always be missing something.
I guess in the classical conception heaven is supposed to be more like 70 degrees and low-humidity than a burst of sunshine on a cool March morning. Does that mean I don't get to bring my red leather gloves? I always knew this whole thing "afterlife" thing was a scam.