Ah, springtime in Chicago! That lovely season that lasts about 21 days, beginning somewhere at the ass-end of April, no matter that the NOAA and your desk calendar and (trumpet fanfare, please) TOM SKILLING insisted that it began on March 20th.
For we, the shivering, huddled masses of the Midwest know better. Some years, winter just refuses to give up, like that one-night hook-up you had, who now keeps texting and sexting you, to the delight of your sig-other.
Some years, my babies, we get Spinter.
Spinter. Spring-Winter. A tiny hint of spring, then winter returns to jack us around for a few more weeks. During which it is cold, icy, rainy, snowy or as my eloquent mother put it today, el shitto.
Baseball games are played with blue balls or postponed altogether. Kids' soccer games are played in ski masks. Three spits of icy mix and everyone forgets how to drive. People bite each other in the ass at work, even more than usual. Extra coffee is consumed to stay on an even keel. Pets hide for fear of being yelled at. You're pissed to still be paying Nicor.
Personally, I'm tired of wearing so damned many layers of clothing. I work in an office with a huge warehouse attached to it, which basically serves as a heat-sucker for the office. My boss isn't thrilled if we jack up the heat, but at least he allows us under-desk space heaters. Still, as our desks are right next to a wall of windows, my co-worker and I freeze. Even with undies, long-sleeved thermal tee, cardigan, wool pashmina (scarf for you menfolk), pants, wool socks and booties. It takes me longer to get dressed for work than it does to drive there.
In November, we expect gray skies. But by spring, we have every right to expect sunny and bright, at least part of the time. For the past several days, I've been flailing in my lawn, doing native-American sun-chants. BRINGusSunNow, BRINGusSunNow… (it's OK; the neighbors know how I roll).
I love the part of regular spring where you get to turn off your heat, but it's still too early to crank up the A/C. That groovy six weeks where you pay neither Nicor nor ComEd. It's intoxicating! You can open the windows, air out the winter-stale house and your winter-stale spouse.
But in Spinter, some time in early May, the cold/snow/ice will suddenly turn to 87 degrees and humid overnight. And that's it. No temperate spring. Just winter-to-summer in, like, 72 hours' time. Ski jackets off, bermuda shorts on, showing muffin-tops and far too-white legs, as there was no time for gradual tanning. Spinter strikes again!
Grandparents will regale tots with stories of ancient real spring - a season where it averaged 68 degrees and lasted over two months! Tulips and daffodils and lilac trees bloomed with impunity, fearful not of ice jackets. Children played outside after dinner, though school was still in session. Neighbors took part in prep for the annual Lawncare Olympics, getting a head start on raking and planting and cutting their acreage just a little closer to perfection.
Alas, it will become warmer at some point. Until then, please work on your fake tans and ab-exercises. Your neighbors will thank you.
And if you enjoy complaining about Spinter, remember, some years we also get Fallinter, i.e, Fall-Winter. Where, instead of regular Fall, we get a swift few weeks of crisp air, crisp apples, the smell of burning leaves and glasses of hard-cider on the back deck.
Until it snows on Halloween, and kids have to trick-or-treat in ski masks.
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