Weather.com informed me that last Friday afternoon would be “18 degrees, feels like 1.” So I bundled up in six layers and proceeded to class in College Hall, where I removed four of them in response to Facilities’ overzealousness with the classroom heaters. On Sunday, I was pleasantly surprised when Weather.com announced 35 degrees for the day’s high. 35? Positively balmy. And next week we get really lucky when the thermometer soars to 43.
We go to school in the Northeast, so I suppose I shouldn’t really be surprised when the weather dips below comfort level. Especially when we can pity everyone who lives in Fargo, North Dakota who would kill for temps above absolute zero.
But why does the commercial shininess of December have to devolve into the depressing bleakness of January? Even November and February retain a certain romantic gloominess, replete with visions of sugarplums and sugar roses, respectively. But somehow each year after Christmas there’s a resigned shift to underlying glacial-ness. “Smokes? Nah, it’s too cold. Trader Joe’s? Do you want to walk back with five bags of canned organic goods? Leave the house? Why would I leave the house?”
I’ve found myself subscribing to this inertia-method, in hopes that hibernation will eventually catch on as the new college-age trend. And even if the weather outside is frightful, there’s something comforting about the Weather Channel itself. Yes, its features on typhoons and blizzards are terrifying. But the channel, much like the television in Pleasantville, is so self-contained that the inconsistency of weather becomes a constant we can rely on.
So while Seasonal Affective Disorder is unavoidable for some, perhaps the solution to January blues is to try to eliminate weather as a reason for feeling down. That’s clearly easier said than done, so I’ll give Hallmark some suggestions. Why not use January as a new marketing campaign? While I’m sure the new shipment of recession-era cards has sold well (nothing says “I love you even though you were laid off” quite like a Miley Cyrus hologram), there are only so many holidays in the year to work with. Rosh Hashanah gets a bevy of cards; January should too.
So what happens when we reshape the attitude toward winter and infuse it with cuddly polar bears and twinkling lights? My alarm clock is set for March 21. Let me know how it goes.