Warp-Speed Requiem

I’m inept.

Well, not skilled, at least. A few years ago, a friend who was in law school told me her opinion: that the higher you move in the realm of academic knowledge, the more common sense you lose. At last reading, mine should be functioning at about 50%. The forward shields took a beating with that last academic encounter, and we’re diverting all the extra power to impulse engines to keep from socially drifting. In order to keep power to life support as well, non-essential functions had to be shut down temporarily.

And, with it, common sense in the realm of interpersonal relationships.

Now, people tell I’m cranky. They chuckle a lot and shake their heads as if to say, “Oh, that’s just Dave.” In fact, they usually tell me that I’m like House, and they’re not really joking. Except, its just when I’m around groups of people. Alone, I’m a lot more like Monk.

It bothers me the most when I realize I’ve done it to family. I miss obvious gestures from my father-in-law that are invitations to build a relationship. I inadvertently speak to my parents in a way that sounds condescending.

To make me feel better, I’m labeled as an “introvert,” or told that I “do better one-on-one.” In my defense, part of this has to do with the fact that I’m a Northerner that has been transplanted to the South, where politeness and social expectations are of a decidedly different flavor. At the end of the day, though, be it due to academia or whatever other reason, my social common sense has died, and this is its requiem. Or, perhaps its just malfunctioning, and in need of repair along with the other systems.

I’ll let you know after the overhaul. Hopefully, the ship will be repaired soon, and able to jump back to hyperspace.

A Modest Proposal

If I might have a moment of your time, permit me to make my case.

I. I caught my share of virtual grief from Facebook friends today. It was the “first snow” of the season in Virginia. Soon after waking, the white stuff began to dust the parking lot outside, and everyone just seemed so happy about it. I wasn’t. I dared to tweet my unhappiness. Thus, the grief I received. You’d think that, because I don’t like snow, I was un-American or something.

II. This leads me to the observation that one tends to enjoy whatever weather patterns or climate that they might have seen themselves as having been deprived of during childhood. Several of those friends who booed my virtual opinion are those who grew up in areas that saw little to no snow. Conversely, I was forced to deal with nasty North Eastern U.S. winters my entire life prior to 5 years ago. I moved south, in part, to escape snow. While there is obviously still some snow in Virginia, there is significantly less than I experienced during my childhood. If I might be blunt, however…any snow is too much, and if I never saw the stuff again I could die a happy man. I guess I should have moved further south.

III. Is there any worse feeling than being cold? I suppose I might concede that there could be some fleeting beauty in white stuff falling from the sky (usually lasting about 10-15 seconds before it  fades), but as soon as I stepped into the breezeway outside of our apartment today, the cold sliced through me and I wanted to retreat. Then followed the headache of negotiating traffic on wet streets, and being pelted by snow/rain/nastiness immediately upon stepping out of the vehicle, not to mention dragging soggy wet winter into the floorboard of the car with you when you get back in. Seriously, someone tell me what’s good about this? And don’t even get me started on how much longer it takes to do laundry in the winter!

IV. Snow is accompanied by dreary, grey skies, punctuated by bare tree limbs that scratch at the light-less canopy with their naked, tortured bodies (Did that sound nihlist? My bad). In all seriousness, I suffer from what was previously labeled in the psychological community as “seasonal affective disorder.” While the diagnosis technically does not exist in the current incarnation of the DSM-IV, it remains a very real event for me. Take away my sunlight and leave me trapped beneath perpetual dusk, and I get depressed quickly. This began occurring in college, and has grown progressively worse since. So, realize that my opinion comes through the lens that snowy weather really is not a pleasant emotional experience for me.

V. Disliking winter (I really have no use for the season at all) does not make me a “scrooge,” as I fully recognize that snow is not a pre-requisite for “getting into the Christmas spirit.” If anything, in fact, it probably hurts that process more than it helps it for me.

VI. Incidentally, I’m more into observing Advent than the materialistic mess we’ve morphed the holiday of Christmas into, anyway, but…that’s a post of its own.

VII. So, might I present a modest proposal? And not even nearly as bleak as other proposals of that identification have been. You see, I think there’s something to this whole “Christmas in July” concept. Why? Because there’s light in July. Besides, if my studies served me correctly, Christ’s birth likely didn’t happen in the winter, in any case. And light, my friends, is the source of much spiritual imagery in the Scriptures. Recognizing that light was such an important poetic symbol in religious writing, I find it ironic that we observe Christ’s birth at a time when sunlight experiences a very notable absence, and we feel forced to compensate by stringing electrical lights around our dwellings in a losing battle to offset the cold and grey appearance of death that we face outside as most of the greenery has fallen and the ground become hard (I know, I know…there I go being nihilist again). So, I say, let’s observe Christmas in the summer, and all find warm places to go for vacation in the winter. It makes more sense anyway that you would want to travel from somewhere cold to somewhere warm in December, as that would entail the sense of escape that a good vacation should have…instead of just moving from warmth to warmth. Let’s learn a lesson from birds, here, shall we? Migration just could be the answer to many of our ills. This way, everyone experiences more sunlight and its vitamin-D-produced happiness year ’round, instead of just bingeing and purging in our existent lifestyles. And that whole ridiculous mythology about an obese gift-giver finding his way down your chimney? Well, that can be conveniently re-written. Now, he can just leave things by your pool instead.

Besides, I’ve always thought palm trees had such a pleasant look with Christmas lights on them, don’t you? Replace the eggnog with little drinks with umbrellas and…well, now we’re onto something! Then, those of us who suffer from November to March would have such a great reprieve from the mess, from the weather delays for holiday travels (I sat in an airport for 7 hours on Thanksgiving day due to fog…how did you celebrate?), and an all-around more pleasant disposition with all of the sunlight we would enjoy.

Yes, I’m convinced. This whole “Christmas in the winter” tradition is just over-rated, and due for a change. Let all of us who have been called “Scrooge” unite and champion the Christmas-in-July cause! Our hearts aren’t two sizes too small…its just that our thermostat is set a few degrees higher! Down with tradition, retire the reindeer, and place Santa in a private jet that flies to different resorts. That suits the privileged version of Christmas better, anyway, and results in more profits for the beginning of the fiscal year…just starts things off right, right? More sunlight, more money, more distraction from the holiday’s true meaning of Life, love, forgiveness, and family…this plan should go over big.

A perfectly good alternative to having to deal with the difficulties some of us face during winter? That’s for the reader to decide.

So, permit me to wish you Feliz Navidad. Especially so if we could all just be warm and dry.