Evanston RoundTable, May 3, 2022
I remember spring. It was several Saturdays ago, blue sky, light breeze, in the 70s. I took myself to the wonderfully named Rocky Miller Park at Northwestern and watched the Wildcats whip Michigan State 4-1 in a surprisingly well played baseball game. So nice.
That was it, a one-off. Next day was overcast and after that it got cold again.
Winter was pretty mild this year but is making up for it by clawing back what should rightfully be spring. Instead we get an endless succession of these cold, wet, dreary days that (other than on the calendar) don’t qualify as spring and don’t qualify as winter either. We need a new name for it. Maybe wintspring or spriwint.
Or my nominee, enoughalready.
We’re told (specifically by my wife) that it’s silly to complain about the weather. What’s the point? In 10 weeks we’ll be complaining it’s too hot, and 10 weeks after that too wet, and then too cold, etc. It’s the cycle of midwestern weather. If you want nice weather, move south. Which many people do.
She also says that next to climate change, domestic politics, inflation and the war in Ukraine, the weather is a piffle. Get over yourself!
She’s right on both counts, of course, but still, I get some strange consolation from belly-aching. For one thing, it’s something you can do. It’s futile, I know, but it feels satisfying, speaking your mind, venting. For another, it’s collegial. We meet on the street corner, in the store, at our office conferences or Zoom sessions and share a long wail of dissatisfaction: Please, let’s have some nice weather!
The long succession of gray days especially affects those of us who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, the acronym for which is SAD though that doesn’t quite describe it, more like MAD (March April Dementia) or BAD (Badmouthing Actuality Disease).
Maybe my SAD MAD whatever could benefit from a spritz of Buddhism. Cold? What is cold? Wet? What is wet?
Instead I searched “Does it help to vent about the weather” and up popped all manner of interesting citations, including a hotline number you can call to leave an angry message. Why didn’t I think of that? There were of course various studies and observations, such as: “Complaining about the weather, something outside of your control, is a lot like rocking in a rocking chair; you are moving, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.”
But another response, from someone named Dan on Quora, was more on point, AFAIC:
“…what you have to realize is that talking about the weather isn’t really about the weather, it’s about talking… complaining about the weather isn’t going to change anything, but the connection I feel when talking with you about it might make me feel a bit better about the situation.”
And as Erlan points out on the same Quora thread, the weather can’t talk back. Unlike, I would add, your wife.
Then I typed in “why me?” (or more accurately, why us, why now, why here?) and got this explanation from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: It’s crummy out because of a zone of high pressure air that has settled over Greenland, forcing the jet stream south over eastern North America, which is reflected by the negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)…blah blah blah.
Whatever the reason, we know this for sure: 2022 will be the year spring forgot, or more accurately, the year that forgot spring. And also this: when we finally do get some nice spring weather, it will seem all the nicer.
At least that’s one consolation.
My best friend’s mother used to tell him, “Everyone in life has to eat a pound of dirt.’ This spring is an ounce. Eat up.