Thursday, November 1, 2012
''October is reliably a good month. I'm waking up, and I feel like I'm being released from my summer, what I would call, jail cell.''
Growing up in the Great Lakes region the long, lolling days of summer was the reward you reaped for enduring the dark, endlessly cold winter. My love for summer sunshine even drew me to Arizona for a couple years in young adulthood. Moving to Texas then should have been a breeze, falling back into the glorious warmth of the south.
“Glorious warmth” is a grossly incorrect term for a Texas summer. Just as the north provides a bitter, skin-biting, nose-hair-freezing cold wind, the south performs an equally horrific and opposite production rivaling the blistering, relentless heat blasting from a jet engine. Periodic mirror checks are required simply to verify your face has not indeed melted away. Due to a lack of sensational adjectives to describe the summer down here I will simply refer to it as “Texas summer”.
Just as a Michigan winter forces you indoors a Texas summer holds you captive as well. You run between climate controlled areas (home to car, car to work, work to store) shaking off dripping sweat from your forehead as you would shake clumps of snow from your scarf. The Michigan winter fogs your glasses indoors when entering the cold just as your Texas sunglasses fog when exiting the air-conditioned chill.
Air-conditioning -- I struggle to talk about it without resorting to whining and complaining. I programmed our home air-conditioner to 84 degrees for two reasons, to control the cost of energy use and because I like to lounge in shorts and a tank top. If it was too warm we clicked it cooler by a few degrees but eventually the system would kick it back up to 84 again just in case we forgot. How some people can live with 72 degrees inside their house baffles me; I am in long pants and sleeves at that temperature and I cannot imagine the bill each month.
At home I am in command of the climate control, in commercial buildings I am not which is a large issue for me. I drive to work in a tank top and shortly after I arrive must pull on one (or two) of the sweaters I keep on hand simply to stay warm. When my fingertips begin to tingle and my hands lose strength I don my "old lady knitting gloves" in order to continue working. Later in the day before I leave I peel off the layers and walk out the doors into the wall of Texas summer where for one small moment I wish that I loved it.
I love the warmth of sunshine, loathe extreme heat and hate excessive cold. Where on the Seasonal Affective Disorder spectrum does that put me? Or is it simply another cycle of Major Depressive Disorder that I've struggled to control my entire life?
According to the National Library of Medicine, “People who live in places with long winter nights are at greater risk for SAD. A less common form of the disorder involves depression during the summer months.” Is this where the phrase, “can’t win for losing” comes into play? SAD in Michigan winter or SAD in Texas summer? Or is it MDD year-round and the search for a perfect climate is futile? Or is weather simply an easy excuse?
Ignoring the questions I am simply thankful that “Spring” is here, that I can open the windows to allow the soft warmth to rinse out the stale air indoors. I can read on my front porch, smell the fresh air and listen to the children play outside after the long, couped-up season indoors. For the first time in months I am thinking of a camera outing outside.
Finally, finally “I’m waking up, and I feel like I’m being released.”