I am beginning to think I'm being sold a worthless bill of goods.
I'm tired of these autumnal worship sessions. I think these constant homages to the perfection of fall are over the top and they tend to forget everything bad about this time of year. Well, I'm here to say that fall isn't all that.
How do I hate fall? Let me count the ways:
It's Cold - "Crisp" air, my spleen! Celery is crisp. How the heck can air be crisp? It's just a euphamism for "really chilly." Fall makes people talk wistfully of cozy sweaters, warm blankets and fireplaces. Do you ever wonder why you are thinking of those things? It's because it's cold outside!
Sure there might still be days in the 60s and 70s where it's perfect to be outside enjoying the weather, but as the days go on, they become fewer and farther between. The sun starts hiding more behind clouds and the temperatures go down below a point where you don't want to stay outside if you're not going to be active. I'm not going to call it "crisp" and let my love for wool sweaters grow. I'm going to call it cold and I'm not going to like it.
It's Dark - The official start of autumn is after the Autumnal Equinox. On that day, we have equal hours of daylight and darkness. After that day, the dark begins to slowly take over. Days are shorter and shorter.
I'm a day person. I thrive in sunlight and I get tired and grumpy when I'm not getting any. Once Daylight Saving Time* ends, our commutes home from work start happening in total darkness. What fun. Autumn lovers claim they don't care about this because they're so incredibly enamored of that crunchy air, but these same people seem awfully happy when Daylight Saving Time comes around again.
Leaf Peeping - Something about the changing leaves makes families and couples suddenly decide to jump in their cars and drive at least an hour north of wherever it is they live in order to view the leaves on the trees that are likely the same colors as the trees right at home. Try getting a room at a Bed & Breakfast any time in October without booking three months in advance. Somehow people feel this intense need to be "in the country" every time the leaves turn. This causes lots of traffic along the highways that lead to these northerly destinations. Changing leaves are pretty and all that, but they are also a sign of impending decay and death. Don't fall for it (no pun intended).
Apple Picking - I think this who trend of taking your family to pick apples is a conspiracy by the owners of the orchards who realize it's a great way to save money. They don't have to house and pay their
Families and couples pile into their cars, fight the leaf-peeping traffic, and head to some overcrowded orchard, parking in a packed lot made from rutted, packed dirt, for that unique day in the country. They call it apple picking, but it will come with all kinds of add-ons because kids are going to become with bored pulling apples out of trees very quickly. So now the farm will give your kids hay rides, corn mazes, and pony rides - for a price.
Since most kids these days don't actually eat fruit anymore, there will be plenty of kettle corn, candy apples (okay, they will eat fruit if it's covered in sugar), pie, cider doughnuts, and hot chocolate. Your expenses don't stop with the food though. After doing a fair amount of backbreaking physical labor (partially fueled by the kids' sugar high), you will spend your not only spend your money on your kids' pony rides, corn maze adventure, hay wagon rides, and various snacks. You will also want to buy a pile of take-home treats like jars of jam, indian corn and mini gourds to decorate your front door and front hall, a pie or two, some cider doughnuts, and 6 pounds of apples you realize you will never eat (remember, kids don't eat fruit). Your wallet is lighter and some orchard owners are smirking behind your backs.
Pumpkin - Imagine this. This past weekend Kevin and I were staying at a Bed & Breakfast in celebration of his birthday. Like many B&Bs, breakfast always includes some kind of homemade muffin or quick bread. So there I was, sitting down to breakfast seeing a piece of homemade bread on my bread plate. Eagerly I took a bite. AAARRRRGGGHHHH It was PUMPKIN BREAD.
You can't escape it. That mushy, gooshy, bizarre squash known as pumpkin is in everything. I'm a food blogger and a cooking enthusiast. I spend a fair amount of my time reading food blogs, food websites, and food magazines. This time of year I can't escape the onslaught of pumpkin recipes. There are pumpkin cookies and pumpkin breads and pumpkin soup and pumpkin pasta, and of course, that classic lead weight of a dessert, pumpkin pie.
Cooks act as if they will die if they don't cram as much pumpkin down their gullets as possible before the end of the season. They have to make more pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin before the December begins. Yes, pumpkins do have a short season, but you can buy canned pumpkin (which isn't even pumpkin but another type of squash) year round. How many people actually bother roasting actual pumpkins. Most people use canned because pumpkins are a pain to gut and cook and taste even grosser than canned squash. Enough already with the pumpkin cooking. There are other ingredients out there.
Guilt - Halloween (and I suppose Thanksgiving can be tacked on to that) is like Christmas. There is now a build-up to the date. Just like there is a "Christmas Season" you can also say there is a "Halloween/Thanksgiving Season" where everyone is supposed to gleefully anticipate the coming holiday. There is a subtle pressure to participate in the activities mentioned above along with harvest fairs and haunted houses and costume parties. Halloween and related fall decorations have become as prevalent as Christmas decorations as well. Houses are strung with orange lights and dead bodies hang out of car trunks. Even those who don't go the scary route are decorating their homes with cobs of dried corn, pumpkins, and scarecrows.
It all just makes me feel as if I'm missing out on something. I should be out there admiring the leaves or riding in hay wagons or eating apple pie. I should be drinking hot cider wearing a cable knit sweater by the fireplace and attending haunted houses at night. I should be gleefully planning my Halloween costume. It doesn't matter that I spend my October days doing things I enjoy like riding my horses and cooking my husband a nice dinner before tucking myself into bed with a good book. Even though I'm probably have a better time than those people getting squashed by crowds at the local Apple Fest, I still wonder if I should be among them. Am I not enjoying "the season" to the fullest?
If the guilt I don't put on myself isn't enough, there is also the guilt I get from others. Try telling people how much you hate pumpkin. It rarely ever receives a positive reaction. Tell your friends you miss the summer sun and they will look at you as if you asked them for a lightly grilled weasel on a bun with french fries. I don't even want to think about the flame wars this post will raise on the internet. Saying you hate fall is like saying you hate puppies. It makes everyone think there is something wrong with you and you must be a terrible person.
This makes me excited for winter. I hate winter even more than I hate fall, but at least in winter, no one blames me for feeling cranky about it.
*You do know there is only one s in Daylight Saving Time, right? Good. Just checking.