Tuesday, November 06, 2007


It's all November-y out there, and it freaks me right out.

We've "fallen back," it's getting dark at 4:30, and there's a chill in the air that brings my shoulders up around my ears. ("Don't wear your ears as a necklace!" my beloved Iyengar teacher, Ken, used to say to the class. Miss you, Ken. Maybe Novembers are nicer in Kauai.)

And this is nothing. When I lived in Massachusetts, the darkness came even earlier, and it got way colder. A girl could get seriously depressed, and she did.

Sometimes, I'd come out of classes in November and hard bits of snow would find their way under my coat lapel, first stinging, then melting. Suddenly, in my mind I was bereft, friendless, unloved, knowing it wouldn't be warm again until May. It was a long way to my car in the dark.

When I first graduated from college, I worked as a temp at MIT. My boss was not a cheerful woman, but she had a good excuse; her 4-year-old son was dying of leukemia. She left early most days for his doctor appointments, and I intermittently watched the clock and read my grim English novels, in a windowless office that smelled, inexplicably, of menstrual blood. At 5:00, I'd walk to the subway with my scarf wrapped around the lower half of my head, eyes on the sidewalk, surrounded by other people who, apparently, worked for a living. I was 21, and I thought: If I have to do this for even one whole winter, I will kill myself.

Hey, I was 21. But even in balmy San Diego, November hits me hard. It doesn't help that the change nips at the heels of turning another year older, and rings in a season of forced consumption and gaiety that historically brings out my inner curmudgeon.

And isn't it crazy? Although I believe what I've written here to be true, the start of November, more than anything, triggers nostalgia, makes me yearn for a time when I reveled in my ennui, cozy in the poetry and romance of youth.


Jen said...

Yeah, parenting a toddler will make you nostalgic for almost anything, I've noticed!

I was just saying today that I usually kind of look forward to winter, but this year (perhaps because we were stuck indoors with Sage so much recently, as she refused to leave the house), I am NOT ready for winter. And it is indeed upon us here in Maine.

I'll think of you when I scrunch up my shoulders and feel the burn of snow inside my lapel!

Loved this post.

Miss J

Unknown said...

I just have to say that it's really fun that you used to live where I live now. I didn't know you worked at MIT. Jason goes to school there and we live close by. Come visit me sometime and you can take me around to all your old digs!