Sunday, February 29, 2004


While I am a purist in many things (no cream with coffee, no ice with good whiskey), I am not this way with language. I like the slutty tendency of English to take on neologisms and adopt slang into the standard lexicon. It keeps the language useful, and alive. The way we talk tells us something about ourselves as people; colloquialisms betraying the influence of class or race or ethnicity.

Today I'm thinking of the seasons, and how we can turn them into verbs. The intransitive verb of season is solely the domain of the well-to-do. "I'm summering in Nice" for example. Or with the holidays: "We'll Christmas in Geneva". One does not "summer" in Dripping Springs, generally.

The transitive form of the verb, however, is far more democratic, if a little gender biased. I may guess that far more ladies assume the seasonal responsibilities of "winterizing" their closet than the lads.

This was the first flip-flop weekend of the year. Only a light jacket necessary, and I could free my toes from the dank imprisonment of socks. When I was a freshman "wintering" in Chicago, I could not adjust to the long winters of the Midwest. When March roared in, still with snows and ice, I made a pact with myself. Sometime in mid- to late-March I decided that I would usher in spring by sheer force of will and retire my socks for the winter. I hauled out my sandals and flip-flops wore them defiantly, miserably through the blue-toed walks to class. I am sure that I defaulted on my pact. Unlike for characters of fiction, the weather does not seem to adjust itself to symbolically reflect my mood.

There is a distinct danger in "summerizing" too quickly. The sandal debacle above, for example. Or as last winter, one of DC's uncharacteristically coldest, when I eagerly packed away my sweaters on 3 different occassions, only to have to pluck them out again with a sneer on my face when the false spring dissipated.

That is why, this year, despite the promise of this flip-flop weekend, I will keep the wool skirts hanging and the cotton skirts stored. If I'm patient with nature, I will be rewarded with a real spring and blossoming parks and brunch on the sidewalk and ritual sacrifice of malicious pantyhose. I've only summerized my car's CD collection. It stops there.


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