Friday was declared “Ski to work day,” which is just the sort of positive, laugh-through-your-tears attitude we need to keep ourselves from holding up a tanning parlor at gunpoint and shouting “PUT THE BED IN MY TRUCK. NOW.”
It’s also like “crawl across the rubble of a post-apocalyptic landscape day” after an all-out nuclear war left everyone too weak to stand. Builds character.
I did not ski to work, because the words “April” and “avoidable loss of toes” don’t quite jibe in my mind. The way I see it, once I’ve paid my taxes, we get tulips. That’s the bargain.
The weather can be deep and cold through the months of Legal Winter, which is December through February, but it should have the sense to slacken in March and wander off in the first fortnight of April. If it snows the first few weeks of April, we treat it like a late-night talk show appearance by some batty old actress, a mix of amusement and regret.
But this! When you go to the grocery store, the coffee shop, you can’t help but feel this strange resignation in the hearts of Minnesotans: We’ve written off 2013. It’s fundamentally broken and we lost the receipt, so forget about taking it back.
Here’s a question. What if this long slog had begun in October? Would you rather have the unseasonable excretions at the start of winter, or the end?
I remember a few Halloweens ago, when the kids shed their coats and gamboled in the dusk, exulting in the thought that summer’s tendrils would stretch so far into winter’s anteroom. On a night like that you’ll trade anything for a little more warmth. If someone said you’ll pay in an April hence you’d shrug. Hey, I’ll spin out on that bridge when I come to it.
This is the bill for the last spring. We all know it. Paid in full. We keep a running total in the back of our minds; we know that the scales have to balance.
We are tuned to the world and its moods, unlike the people who live in climates that rarely vary. We are stronger and better for this.
We are Minnesotans! Which is now an accepted spelling for “delusional.”
James Lileks • 612-673-7858