Archive for March 3rd, 2007

Coping with winter’s bitter end

The novelty of the Midwest’s puffy snow flurries, sub-zero temperatures, crisp air and frozen lakes – it’s all well worn off.

Now that March has finally arrived, isn’t it time for spring rain and flowers, for green on the landscape? Hitting that end-of-winter funk is rough, and as the season’s sullen grip continues to linger my spirit is beginning to languish. I’m momentarily coping by ignoring the fact that “the outdoors” even exists – blinds closed, laptop open – but eventually I’ll have to pull on my five layers and face the reality, and the cold.

So what do we do? How do we stay sane and not SAD?

Perhaps we dip our souls into music and books, entertaining travel imaginings sprinkled with melody – maybe the bohemia of Jack Kerouac paired with ethereal guitar-picking of Sufjan Stevens. Maybe we buy some aromatherapy candles. Or maybe we just drink a lot, as The Stranger’s Sandeep Kaushik recommends:

Take my example. Upon waking, I stare blankly at my ugly mug in the mirrored ceiling for a minute, groan, and then reach for the bourbon bottle strategically placed on the bedside nightstand. Twenty minutes and seven or eight shots later, my funk has magically disappeared. I feel so good that I might just decide to act like a big, angry monkey. I might knuckle-walk down the hallway. I might flash my bared teeth and chase my wife around the dining room. When she runs away screaming, I might beat my chest in triumph. Then I might fixate on my pretend big red baboon ass, which I might just slap and fondle admiringly as I squat on the coffee table. I might do anything I want, because I am drunk, and alive, and all is well with the world.

But the better (and probably healthier) option, might be a weekend road trip out to somewhere new, a fresh environment to shake up your somber synapses. Unless you live in the middle of nowhere (in which case, well, I’m sorry) there’s likely another city or town somewhere nearby where you can get out of your routine.

Midwest? Chicago, Minneapolis or Cincinatti. Northwest? Portland or Seattle. The Northeast is teeming with options, most of them easily traveled to via Amtrak or Bus. And if you’re from California…you shouldn’t be complaining.

In two weeks I’ll be enjoying a late winter getaway in NYC – but until then, I might just take Sandeep’s advice and start spiking my Emergen-C.

Happy travels.

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March 2007