Well, we’ve entered the vernal equinox and supposedly that signals opportunity and rejuvenation. I was watching 60 Minutes the other day, and during their “Last Minute” segment, titled “Spring is here,” commentator Sharon Alfonsi talked about all of the “uncertainty” and discord of the previous week (the SVB debacle, the possible indictment of a president, the upsets in the NCAAs, the weather issues across the country, etc.), only to move onto a message of revitalization ushered in by changing colors and budding plants. She said in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, “spring has arrived, how bad could things really be?” Well, aside from what she named off – and didn’t – I’d wager that things are pretty bad. Yet we persist.
I’m not a warm weather guy. If the highs never broke 60, and even hovered around the high 30s with sun, I’d be happy. Cold doesn’t bother me, well, unless it’s the below freezing kind. So, I guess all that means is that maybe I don’t care about new opportunities, a fresh start, and the sounds of birds chirping. That I’m a winter person must signal that I’m ready for death. Well, not really, but maybe I don’t have a chipper disposition, nor do I see all things as sacred. In fact, I see very few things as sacred, but I won’t chase that rabbit here, because I know you all read this column for inspiration. 😊
Spring tends to be wet and rainy, and of course it’s when you have to start doing yardwork. Or more accurately, it’s when people who care about their lawn start doing yardwork. I believe in very little, but I do believe in benign neglect when it comes to the condition of my yard. This is likely very disappointing to my parents who always took great pride in their yard, with my dad always keeping it perfectly manicured, and my mom being one notch removed from a master gardener. It isn’t that I don’t appreciate a nice-looking yard, I just don’t want to spend my time or money making it that way, and I don’t want to waste all that water either. That’s right, I’ve got a crappy yard because I want to save the planet! But, whatever, the birds and squirrels still come to my yard and frolic and thrive, so I must be doing something right, even if I’m not doing anything at all.
Spring signals the onset of summer to me, and I abhor heat and humidity. I really just want to move somewhere where the climate fits my comfort, but those places are either ugly and barren or I’d have to learn a new language. That’s not happening at this late stage. I took Spanish from 7th through 12th grade and was at one time conversational, but I can’t speak much more of it than nachos or tequila these days. I digress, as usual… And when summer comes, and the heat cranks up and the humidity pulls all the moisture from my body, I can get downright miserable. In the winter, I can appreciate coming into a “warm” house (I keep my heat at 61 degrees, so that’s probably frigid to most of you). But in the summer, even if the AC is cranked, it just all feels so artificial. All I want is a respite, but in this part of the country, summer lasts for almost six months, seemingly. We were getting humid 80-degree days in February, and they’re here to stay by May. Come early June, it’s 90s through early October, and the swampy 80s don’t dissipate until early November. I’m living in the wrong place, clearly.
The one thing I do like about summer, obviously, is that the amount of clothes become skimpier, if you catch my drift. But more and more, as the people of this country get plumper, there are fewer and fewer people you want to see in a tube top and booty shorts. Nonetheless, summer does provide opportunities for glimpses that can make your day. That most certainly doesn’t happen during the winter, admittedly. But I’m supposed to be writing about spring, so let me get us back on track.
When I was a college kid, the highlight of spring was heading out of town for “spring break.” Usually, I went somewhere to get away, but only once did I do the traditional spring break beach thing. We drove down from the Midwest to Florida for a week: one day in Orlando, three days in Panama City, and three days in Daytona Beach. If you haven’t been, trust me when I say everything you’ve heard is true. And it doesn’t sound like anything has changed. It’s still pure debauchery, and it’s still a week of bad decisions and good times. Only now, as compared to the 90s when I participated, everything is documented on our pesky little smartphones. I’m so glad those things weren’t a part of my growing up years. I can only imagine all of the extra trouble I would’ve gotten in. It’s not as if I didn’t get into enough of it without them around… Anyhow, I do think spring break is a rite of passage for college kids – really all people of that age. But I do wish it were something that we still did as adults. Not like how parents take their kids to Disney World during that time, but like we engage in a slightly more toned-down affair of what we used to do – as a country, take a week off to let loose and kick back, get wild if you want. I think it would be restorative; you know, like spring is supposed to be…
Truth of the matter is that I’m less resilient these days than I was as a young buck. One hard night leaves me crippled for days. My sleep gets ruined, my brain gets foggy. Partying just ain’t as easy as it used to be. So now, as a soon-to-be old man, my desire for excess is, well, mostly non-existent. We’ve also got this daylight savings crap, so that messes things up for me, and it’s certainly no surrogate for a night out on the town. I guess things just get more and more boring as time goes by. Maybe I need to readjust my expectations; I’m still living by the “old college try” mentality. Maybe it’s time to let that outlook find its own winter, and I can embrace the spring of middle age. But that all just sounds too boring. I think it’s time to go back to Daytona Beach.
Keg Stand Champion, ‘99