Author: Ben Tuthill
Supposedly, it is now fall. One can tell by the hundreds of nice girls from New England all across campus who are looking at one another with big, pathetic eyes and sighing, “I m-i-i-i-ss seasons.”
It is a rite of passage for anyone from the North who comes to college in a place without cyclical weather. Two weeks into an abnormally warm October they get a bit woozy, break down, and commiserate about how long it is going to be before they get to pull out their pea coats and Hunter boots.
Now that I have been here for a few years and have earned myself a jaded sense of experience, I look at these kids and scoff. What were you expecting? California is known for perfect weather all year long, no? Have you been to the beach? You can still go there in late October.That’s pretty cool, isn’t it? No? Go listen to “Funeral” [or Arcade Fire] in your room and cry about it then.
I am not being fair; I feel it too. I am from Minnesota. I know what it means to have real seasons. My hair froze every morning at the bus stop from Kindergarten through high school. I came to California to escape that for a few years, but every Fall Break I start to feel like there’s something fundamentally missing in my life.
I get antsy and start questioning whether it is really okay to wear a linen shirt while watching a post-season baseball game. I do stupid, dangerous things, like putting on a wool sweater over a plaid button-down even though it is 98 and sunny. I come home, make myself tea, pretend that I’m not sweating and end up staring at an iPad app of snow falling on a meadow for 30 minutes straight. Nice girls from New England are the last people I want to empathize with, but I can’t help it. I miss fall. I m-i-i-i-ss it.
The real world has seasons; my Euro-centric, Continental-climate-based worldview insists upon it. Weather is not supposed to be like this. It’s supposed to be cold right now. There should be pretty leaves and wind and maybe a little bit of rain. Fashion has seasons: there’s spring-summer, winter-fall. You’re supposed to be wearing darker colors, thicker fabrics, and socks this time of year. The entire Fashion World isn’t about to get something like that wrong.
I’m not supposed to be wearing only one layer after Columbus Day. I only have so many shirts and pants combinations, and I’m running out of options. I’ve been resorting to desperate accessorizing and moronic buttoning and untucking just to keep things fresh. Pretty soon I’m going to be stuffing my blue OCBD into my pants with every button undone. I can’t wear the exact same thing twice. I have a reputation. I write a fashion column. I have to look great.
My ankles are not supposed to be tan anymore. I feel sick every time I put on a pair of shoes without socks after Labor Day, but I can’t bear to cram my feet into elasticized cotton when it’s this hot. My shoes weren’t meant to take this kind of abuse. They can only stand three months a year of bare, sweaty feet. Pretty soon they’re going to be ruined.
How does all of Southern California deal with this, seeing the rest of the country bundling up, stepping on crunchy leaves, wearing fall collections how they are meant to be worn? Don’t they feel weird watching football games and seeing all the happy fans freezing to death in knit hats and scarves, cheering even though they can see their breath? What does Thanksgiving mean to an entire region that does not understand the point of a holiday sweater?
That is life here, I guess. Everyone gives in eventually. In a few months the nice girls from New England are going to be complaining about the rain and refusing to leave their rooms because they don’t want to get their hair wet. In a few months I am going to remember that I only have five pairs of functional socks, and I’ll shrug and be grateful that I don’t have to buy more. Call it defeat, call it affirmation, call it acceptance. It’s just the way things are.
But for a few weeks, when the shock is still fresh, I miss it. I just want to wear the sweater my mother gave me for Christmas. Is that too much to ask? Be cold for a week or two, California. If not for me then for all the nice girls from New England. It’s so sad to see them despondent like this. I can’t take it.
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