It’s the least wonderful time of the year

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It’s February—the bottom of the winter barrel. It’s that cold, blowy, snowy month with little to get the blood pumping to combat the cold.

This is the time of year when we’re desperate for hope. Every year at the start of the month, crowds stand in freezing temperatures to watch a guy dressed like an extra from Murdoch Mysteries hold up a bleary-eyed rodent to issue the long-term weather forecast.

“Please let it be an early spring.” I think that every year even though I know a sunny day is bad news as far as groundhog predictions go. It’s just pure desperation.

But I’m so tired of being cold and disappointed by snowed-out plans that I’m willing to hang a portion of my hopes on Wiarton Willie.

The minute Christmas and New Years decorations are passé and slapped with orange discount stickers, heart-shaped chocolate wrapped in red foil and red velvet boxes with sketchy “assorted creams” appear on store shelves.  And then there’s the cards that inspire a full cringe, the kind that make my head do that involuntary bobble and my arms twitch.

There’s something about Valentine’s Day that makes me feel like a zoo animal expected to mate. It’s like being a panda bear. Your busy doing panda things all day then all of a sudden you’re sitting across from another panda at a dimly-lit restaurant. You have all the bamboo you can eat and sparks should fly as you indulge in a meal that didn’t involve a microwave. But just minutes before you were stuck in rush-hour traffic. And it’s Wednesday, which means an early morning. And you can’t stop wondering why your coworker made that snide comment.

I guess that’s still better than when I was younger and Valentine’s Day was a measure of your social status. At my high school they managed to alienate single teenagers with candy-grams and or flowers that were delivered with much pomp and ceremony during class.

I know of at least one person who sent flowers to herself to avoid the shame of not having an admirer.

It was also an opportunity for horrible people to send flowers or a candy-gram to someone who did not have a boyfriend and was therefore unlovable. The idea was to pretend to be a boy who was secretly in love with her and have a laugh at her expense.

If karma exists I have to wonder where those cruel-hearted people are now. Jail? Divorced with kids who hate them? Or do they have a hot date with Taco Bell takeout and Jerry Springer this Valentine’s Day?

I suppose a few successful Valentine’s Days can lead to the next abomination—Family Day. It sounds like a good idea. A day off in February, what could go wrong?

Family Day isn’t like Simcoe Day or Victoria Day–two other holidays that don’t seem to have the kind of gravitas of Christmas or New Years—because on Simcoe Day or Victoria Day you can walk outside without losing the feeling in your face. These holidays, though often spent with family, seem to offer up more freedom, more choice.

Family Day, unless you ski or skate, seems to be a day where you sit inside with your family, especially if they’re teens, and argue about what to watch on TV.  There is no way they’re going out there in the freezing cold, and secretly I’m fine with that, but what to do?

That is the question for February. What to do?

I am worn out by winter. I’m worn out by slipping on ice—my feet going this way and that until I look like an Irish dancer wearing shoes cursed by leprechauns. Though the light is coming slowly, I’m tired of eating dinner surrounded by blackness on the other side of my windowpanes. And I am tired of tripping over boots at the front door and finding somewhere to hang my coat. I am tired of damp gloves and cleaning off my car while the snow blows into my face.

I am tired of winter.  Valentine’s Day and Family Day aren’t going to change that. So move over Wiarton Willie, I need a nap.




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