Tuesday, October 28, 2008

persephone stuck in traffic

One of the very particular things about the place I live now versus the place I used to live is that, where I live now, the weather pretty much never changes (unless you count the daily oscillation between 75-85 in the day and 60-65 at night, which some people, let's call them "wussies from the subtropics," actually do), whereas where I used to live, it might hail on your car the day after you opened your pool. The biggest effect this has on me is the loss of the weather as an omnipresent temporal marker; I used to remember roughly when things happened based on the physical state of the water in the atmosphere: solid, liquid, or horrible vaporous humidity requiring a hasty retreat into a building whose air conditioning provided Hoth-like temperatures with air as dry as Tatooine sand, and only marginally less abrasive.

Here, there is almost never water in the atmosphere, so time passes in a manner I would characterize as "allegedly." Case in point, I woke up today and realized that, without anything having apparently changed, I have been at my current job for over a year. I feel as though I walk around in a clueless daze, punctuated by tri-annual trips home where I experience weather for four disconcerting days at a time. Aside from these brief jaunts into and out of the real world, the only thing that keeps me grounded into the seasonal continuum is Starbucks. Absent the brisk chill of an autumn morning, Starbucks will tell me when I should begin to feel holiday cheer. Crunchy scarlet leaves being nowhere to be found, I rely on the regular annual appearance of synthetic pumpkin flavoring, eventually falling by the wayside in favor of bracingly refreshing peppermint mocha, to alert me to the appropriateness of feeling goodwill to all humankind. Until Urban Outfitters had to mess with my head in an attempt to sell more iridescent miniature Christmas trees, that is. At the UO store across the street, it has been Christmas for a good solid three weeks at this point. And because of the aforementioned preternaturally static atmosphere, I have no immediate evidence of the falsity of this misrepresentation. Simply walking down the street past the store gives me momentary starts of anxiety that I failed to pay my November rent, or that I missed my mother's birthday. I feel an exaggerated resentment toward Urban Outfitters, a store I normally patronize quite frequently. And why not? I don't have to be charitable. It's not Christmas yet.

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