For everything there is a season. And this ain't the season.
It is too warm for December. The days are hot and the nights are soggy, and people are going Christmas shopping in their summer clothes. I have already put away my summer clothes three times only to have to take them out again. I cannot wear my sweaters or my heavy jackets. The fireplace cannot be used, the geraniums are still out and the misguided cherry blossoms are blooming. This is not the way it is supposed to be.
I know I am supposed to cheer the warm weather. The truth is, though, I find it depressing. All summer I look forward to autumn: the cool days, the cold nights. I look forward to fires, blankets, heavy clothing, and cognac, which I take for medicinal purposes only. I like winter clothes, heavy coats and wool sports coats and, in particular, sweaters. Shakespeare was almost right when he said that clothes make the man. In fact, sweaters do.
But it is still too warm to wear sweaters. It is like summer, a season of sweat and wrinkled clothing and gaudy colors like pink and lime green. In Washington, summer is an affliction, a time of mass insanity. People here are forever pretending you can go out in the summer. They have parties in their back yards and make you sweat. They propose nights at Wolf Trap in dreadful humidity, planes flying overhead. They play tennis in weather that elsewhere in the world is devoted to siestas.
But the current weather has the worst of summer with some confusion thrown in. I have already put in and taken out the lining of my raincoat four or five times. I am getting very good at it. I know someone who has been saying for over a month that it will soon be too late to plant bulbs for next spring. And I know that somewhere a marriage is being destroyed over the question of whether the windows should be open or closed. This does not happen in the winter.
There is a good side to this unseasonal weather. It must hurt the Washington Gas Light Co., the local utility that seems to have confused natural gas with cocaine, at least where price is concerned.
I imagine the gas company stuck with all its expensive gas. I hope it chokes on it.
I hope Washington Gas executives have to take the gas home in plastic bottles and put them in the refrigerator. I hope they have to come to me to rent storage space and then I will charge them one price if they pay by a certain date and 89 cents more if they pay after that. I hope Washington Gas buys no more gas and then its suppliers, with their prearranged prices, will be swimming in their own gas. All this makes the hot weather worth it.
But all this is also sheer fantasy. Winter will come. Up to now, it always has. But it is dreadfully late in getting here. Maybe it's that Mexican volcano that erupted. The dust is supposed to make it cooler, I know, but maybe it works the other way around. Maybe, now that only the mayor can speak for the city, the hot air is coming from the District Building. Maybe winter was delayed by the football strike or maybe Washington has slipped into the Sun Belt and that's why we suddenly have a winning football team. Or maybe it all has something to do with the "G Spot," which either has something to do with sex or is linked to the MX missile. I forget.
All I really know is that I cannot stand it anymore. My office is an oven. I have to wear a sweater in the morning, but turn on a fan in the afternoon. An editor who works the graveyard shift had a building engineer take a reading at his desk at 5 a.m. and found it was 91 degrees. The editor left early so he could change his clothes.
So come on, winter, I'm pulling for you. If I wanted to live in the Sun Belt and wear cowboy hats, I would move to Dallas. Come on, chill and cold and even snow. I yearn for walks on crisp days, for a snowball fight with my kid, for the chance to see my dog go bonkers in the snow and then, when I have gotten that out of my system, for the chance to complain about the cold and dream about the sort of weather we have now.