The end of daylight savings time in the wee hours of the morning today has begun my least favorite time of the year. I do not like the short days. I do not like the cloudy overcast skies. I do not like the cold. I do like the rain but not like the wet after the rain.
I get depressed and moody during the dark months. Every year I promise myself that I will escape to sunnier climes. Chile and New Zealand come to mind. I think about renting an apartment in Valparaiso or Auckland. And every year I decide that being alone in a far-off country where I know no one would be worse than staying here in the cold and wet and dark.
There is lots to recommend the Southern Hemisphere. It is springtime there when it is November and December here.
Outside the United States one is free of endless tape loops of Bing Crosby singing 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer', and of 'Jingle Bells' sung by people who have never seen, and who never will see, a one-horse open sleigh. Outside the United States one is not inundated in red and green decorations, and in images of Frosty the Snowman in California where there are no snowmen. Outside the United States one is not subjected to endless seasons greetings cards from people whose sole purpose in sending them is to show themselves and others that they are married. I have long since given up any sense of guilt or obligation about not sending cards myself. I have accepted that I am a curmudgeon and that I just don't care and I rely on my friends to recognize this.
Outside the United States one is not subjected to the idiocy of receiving presents one doesn't want in return for buying and giving presents the recipient doesn't want either. For some reason the presents have to be wrapped in colored paper which is promptly thrown away, as though that somehow conceals the fact that they are mass-produced in Chinese sweatshops.
If one gives expensive presents, one gives a label of which the message is, "I pointlessly gave a prosperous store owner a lot of money for something functionally worth far less than I paid for it in hopes you would feel good about me, or at least not be pissed at me for not getting you anything." Does anyone not know that luxury goods are sold at a far higher markup than useful things? But then again, you know me well enough to know that the reason I spent so much money was out of desperation about not being able to think of anything interesting or original to get you.
Rita sometimes gives people notices that she has sent money in their name to a sanctuary for homeless pot-bellied pigs. People buy them as piglets because they are so cute, smart, and easy to train. They ditch them when they grow into enormous hogs which occasionally eat their neighbors' pets and small children. Why they don't just eat the pigs is hard to understand. Having an edible pet seems like a practical foresight. One can imagine a vegan with a pet carrot.
And New Year's Eve has become a waste of time. It used to be an evening to get drunk and laid after a loud party. Now one is married or close to it and one goes home with the one one came with. So there is nothing to look forward to about it except being a year older, which isn't much to look forward to at all.
Rita has an enormous and quite ridiculous bulldog named Ollie. He is a likable pooch and a hopeless goofball. He is fat and farts a lot and snores when he sleeps. That pretty well describes me too, so I wonder what exactly Rita sees in me. But I am far from the first to not understand women.
Ollie is a good ol' dog but he is a problem if we want to move to Punta Arenas or Christchurch for a month. It seems wrong to put him in a kennel for more than a few days. On the other hand am I willing to be depressed and miserable staying here so that Ollie won't be depressed and miserable staying in a kennel? It is a quandary.
The only good thing about winter is skiing. Sadly I am getting close to being too old to go anymore. But I have been going to the gym semi-religiously to get my legs into shape for a few ski runs. It is harder on the legs than it used to be because I am a lot fatter than I used to be and a lot heavier. Which makes standing up on the skis harder, and falling down at speed problematic.
Another only good thing about winter is driving through snowy scenery. I like that a lot. I am not yet too old to do that though my back complains loudly if I sit too long. I have a mechanical back massager thing which move steel knuckles up and down my back as I drive. I doubt I could still drive long distances without it.
So I am semi-stuck and semi-dreading the winter and its thoroughly annoying holidays.