“Spring is coming, are you ready?” asked the pretty lady on a moped, who happened to pop up on my Facebook feed. Well, yes, thanks for asking, I am ready. This winter has been cold and grey and devoid of snow. And I am so ready for spring.
Strangely, walking down the street, the same question was asked of me by a billboard, and then a shop window. All three companies wanted to know if I was ready to shed my woolly layers and emerge, butterfly-like into the sun. Hell YES I am!
But then I realized, what they mean…
Woe betide any adult woman who just wanders nonchalantly into “the new season”
My body, for example (which has been reliably converting food and oxygen into movement and thoughts all winter), is no longer fit for purpose. It must now be upgraded, like a crap phone that got dropped in the loo. Waxing, trimming, toning, and buffing are all in order before this knitted chrysalis can be shed.
Last year’s clothes, of course, simply will not do. I don’t know, but people must have vastly more exciting holidays than me. My swimsuit is almost totally unscathed from the couple of weeks lounging by the pool last year. What are people doing with their bikinis that they have to be replaced every year? Swimming with sharks? White-water rafting? Lounging in vats of acid? Anyway, like any serious endeavor, Spring requires a whole new kit.
As for my house, well, that won’t do AT ALL. I still have my winter curtains up. For Christ’s sake, woman, what kind of a housewife are you?! To herald the lengthening days, what I really need are some pastel florals, preferably against a backdrop of freshly-painted “Greenery” walls. Until I’ve Hoovered behind the bookshelves and switched up my bedding, Spring will just have to wait.
…Pinterest said so.
How on earth did it all get so damn stressful?
How did something as delightful as the steady progress of the season, the first gusts of warmer air, the emergence of the primroses in the lawn, get all messed up with commercialism and to-do lists?!
Well, in my other life, when I’m not ranting about stuff on the internet, I teach English for Sales and Marketing. The books I use to teach have some insights… One book, for example, says that “emergencies, real or imagined,” will increase sales.
Now, real emergencies I have no problem with. Storm coming? Check the candle supplies. Winter on its way? Wheel chains needed. These are all perfectly valid reasons to flog us stuff.
…But what about the imagined emergencies? If I started screaming at you to GET READY, like some kind of hopped-up prepper, you might decide not to talk to me anymore. If I persisted, friends and family would worry; people would start to avoid me in the street.
Spring is supposed to be a reward!
Into all lives some shit must fall. Tax returns, exam season, and class reunions are all example of events which warrant preparation (and a certain amount of trepidation). But Spring, Christmas, the summer holidays, Halloween, and New Year’s Eve are supposed to be our rewards for putting up with all the other crap. They are the light side of life, the dessert you were promised if you ate all of your broccoli. But how many times in the run-up to Christmas have you heard a woman bemoan, “Oh, I am so not ready for Christmas, I haven’t even…”? This pressure to “get ready!” is turning life into a chore.
I think Christmas is too long-gone to be saved. We’ve pretty much absorbed the message that it isn’t really Christmas if you haven’t worked yourself into a nervous breakdown in the run-up — baking, cooking, shopping, and cleaning.
But, please: can we not do the same for Spring?
Can we please just enjoy it without feeling pressured to overhaul our homes and our bodies, to prepare, to spruce, to worry and to spend? We allow the sales people and the advertisers to bring this noise into our lives. We even act on it, normalize it. Fuck that noise — it drowns out the birdsong.