Anne T. Donahue
According to what I’ve been told and the sheer number of pumpkin-centric items at every store I’ve been to recently, autumn is coming and summer is over and we are all aging so buckle up.
Is this what we want and/or have even asked for? I don’t have a clue, but I certainly haven’t. Mainly because with autumn and winter come a sickening lack of decorative plates with flamingos adorning them, and it makes me physically ill to think that at no point during the autumn/fall push, a CEO didn’t stop to ask his designers, “Why don’t we just create a line of products with flamingos wearing sweaters and scarves?” Because, dear CEO, nobody stops to think about what the people really want.
And so I must engage in my yearly tradition. Every year, I like to rank, judge, or comment on the various fall things and activities I’m meant to enjoy or participate in, and every year I change my mind about a million others and realize I either love lined Crocs (check!) or hate Halloween (still true!) Granted, I have in no way consistently published said guide due to laziness or hot topic I’d rather wade into. But sleep well knowing that somewhere, there is a iPhone note that says “what are pumpkin patches even for?” which I think says it all.
Without fail, every year I think I’m the kind of person who’ll wear a “cute” fall “outfit” while posing amidst a field of vegetables (are they vegetables?) to cement my “brand” as “someone who has time for this.” Then, by September 20, I realize this is not for me, that should I choose to engage with pumpkin patch culture I will have to buy a floppy hat that I will never wear again or look good in, and that if I want to decorate my home, I can just go to the grocery store and pull a pumpkin out of a box filled with pumpkins. I think I’m finally ready to make peace with the revelation that pumpkin patches are for children or children on school trips. And that if you are an adult patch-goer (and truly, bless up if you are), it is crucial that at this same patch you also buy at least 16 full ears of corn. Fibre is autumn’s friend.
It’s good. It’s fine. It’s a flavour! Who cares! Leave me alone! If you have a real opinion on this in the year of our lord 2021, I cannot help you, and it’s because I don’t want to.
This is actually just a chance to plug my new lined Crocs. I love them! They’re warm and yet still Crocs-like. Remember how everybody got so upset about Crocs? Well, we were wrong, and these are right. I went outside with my cat just now wearing my lined Crocs and guess whose feet didn’t get soaked in the grass I’m still not sure how to cut? Mine. Me. I nearly got stung by a wasp, but at least I got to walk around the backyard saying, “Okay, Barry, inside!” for 20 minutes in shoes that actually like and respect me.
I am seeing Halloween . . . things (?) out in the world already, and I feel about this the same way I feel about Christmas merch being sold on November 1: this is not for me, I do not understand it, I respect the right to have it, but I liked Halloween way better when I was a child and my only goal was to go to as many houses handing out full size chocolate bars and/or cans of pop as possible. I hate dressing up and I hate engaging with people who are also dressed up when I am dressed up. This year thus far has already been a nightmare. The only spooky scary thing I have made room for is the discovery that my cat has turned the basement into the place he visits only to throw up. And that’s because I love my cat, and not because I like to find the new places he’s thrown up. (Barry if you can read this, please leave the stairs alone.)
Any activity with leaves
I love to look at leaves and I love to rake the leaves but the idea of jumping into a pile of leaves makes me think about the rat king in 30 Rock. Even as a kid I was like, “But . . . they’re all wet?” To which my parents answered, “Yes, exactly, so please do not jump into piles of leaves before getting into the car.”
I’ve met real persons on this earth that do not like pie. Who doesn’t like pie? This is basically just my excuse to shout: WHO DOESN’T LIKE PIE?
Everybody knows that the real star of autumn are scented things. For me, I prefer a clean apple scent. For others, I do not care because it’s still COVID time and I am not going to anybody else’s house. But according to every subscription I’ve accidentally signed up to, we are living in a world of pumpkin-spice-caramel (too sweet, man alive) and evergreen-so-strong-you-will-perish-if-you-light-it-for-more-than-30-minutes. So to this I say scram. Scram with your complicated seasonal scents and just give the people want they want: a sense of smell that exists into the winter instead of one that’s been burned out by October 2. Once, I lit a candle and my mom said, “What happened?!” while last year my family took a consensus and agreed that the candle we’d lit in the bathroom for an afternoon was meant to die. This is not what autumn is, or what it’s about, or who it’s for.
Not when dogs and cats wearing costumes are a reasonable way to pass the time.
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