As of this writing, it’s 19 degrees in the middle of May. I’m sitting on my apartment balcony and overlooking a river, and I have lied to myself several times about how warm I am (not at all), how many spiders live along my balcony railing (millions), and how sick my allergies are making me (consider this paragraph my last will and testament should I die before finishing this piece).
But alas, I have accepted my delusions. Winter 2019 was cruel and long and cold and terrible, and I am desperate for jackets and t-shirts and running shoes without salt stains, so I will fling myself into spring-summer – but not without warning you not to make the mistakes I have. And, between you and I, likely will again.
Do not assume the winter is done with us
Assume nothing, ever, but especially do not assume that winter is gone. The night before last, I wore a coat to pick up a case of sparkling water, and today I am wearing overalls and drinking way too much iced tea for my anxious brain to handle. Tomorrow? We may all be encased in ice, nodding in respect at the planet’s wrath. Winter is gone only when you begin complaining about how hot it is. And even then, it’s coming back (eventually).
But speaking of summer, remember that it is also awful
The enemy of my enemy is my friend. But then sometimes that friend becomes too overbearing and you begin to feel smothered by its presence, puzzled as to why they seemed so tolerable to begin with. Enter: summer, and its promise of day trips and adventures before the humidity kicks in, the temperatures soar, and those without air conditioning are subjected to laying on the cold kitchen floor whispering “I’m scared” when they hear that tomorrow will be even worse. There’s a reason some of us begin counting down to autumn by July, and that reason is the fact that I got a heat rash from sitting in the car three days ago.
And truly: go inside if you begin getting a heat rash
Frankly, this is more of a note to myself, but since we’re here I’ll be honest: if you begin breaking out thanks to the sun, save yourself. Gather your belongings and flee. Don’t wait for your friends or your family. The summer has rejected you, and you must now join people like me who wear hats and jeans regardless of heat advisory. Meet me in the mall food court, and after six litres of Orange Julius we’ll seek refuge amongst the bargain-discount t-shirts. We are each other’s family now.
Also: do not rush into a shorts-and-sandal aesthetic
Today, I refuse to wear a jacket. I didn’t bring my jacket with me to the grocery store, and I will not bring a jacket to dinner. You and I both know I will regret this. By sunset, I will start calculating how far my car is from the restaurant, and then I will lie to myself about how warm walking can make me, provided I walk very fast and in the same direction of the wind. Then, when my friend and I have parted ways, I will fight the urge to weep, knowing I must retain my energy for the moment I morph into Rose at the end of Titanic when she uses the dead man’s whistle.
Which is to say: do not waste your summer-wear. Do not dive into shorts and tank tops and sandals, convincing yourself that summer is here. Summer will arrive when it decides, and when it does, we will not be unsure of its presence. Remember, our shorts and dresses and whatever-pieces-you-like-when-it’s-hot-out will mean nothing when it’s too warm to stand or walk or do anything but complain – yet you (and I) will be pining for the chance to debut weather-appropriate pieces to combat a season that was once responsible for me passing out in a variety story downtown Toronto.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I must wrap myself in a blanket large enough to carry me through the rest of my work. Because I do not need a jacket. I don’t care what these flurries mean.