The first day of November, or as retailers in the Loop apparently like to call it “holiday season.” Still showing the remnants of my Halloween costume attire, I awoke this morning and turned the calendar page. Seeing the word “November” out in the plain like that brought a certain amount of trepidation. Starbucks has already switched to their red holiday cups. Like a frozen gust of wind off Lake Michigan, winter suddenly looms large in depths of my psyche, and it’s a very real and increasingly immediate threat to many of the items left on the year’s to-do list. Rough winters make me worried I’ll someday be the kind of person who moves to Los Angeles, a sedative place where there are no seasons. There is no wind chill factor low enough to make me wish for that.
For now, I’m very happy to be settling into a new routine. In the life of a campaign staffer like myself, years are measured by Novembers. Elections come and go and their memories help orient the frames in which I place my life’s stories. For example I only drink Red Bull in Novembers of even-numbered years. Typically I find the stuff unbearable even for a heavy coffee drinker. I make the exception because during that time I’m generally running on the fumes of very little sleep and a daily schedule that no longer has room for “eating food.” I can recall precisely what I was doing in the first days of November for the last four years.
Because of this, 2011 has been a truly bizarre year. In my profession it’s the off-season. It’s been almost a year since I moved back to Chicago after my last campaign, marking the longest I’ve stayed put in one place since college.
Big cities like Chicago have a certain callous indifference to these types of troubles, though, which I think is what attracts me to it. Chicagoans embrace the strange, and it’s reflected in our weather patterns. It makes us stronger and there’s an understanding that it’s how we keep the whiners out. Cheers to the cold, and Happy New Year!
About the author: Ryan Gallentine is a semi-professional nomad and aspiring popsicle stick joke writer. He can be found on Twitter at @rgallentine.