08 February 2008


I am sure it comes as no surprise when I say that I really enjoy shopping. I find it fun and relaxing and satisfying. I am often just browsing, but it is fun to look and think about what I want and to even occasionally catch something terrific on sale.

My 3 favorite things to shop for are shoes, bags, and clothes for Zoë. Make-up is a close 4th. None of these things are fun to shop for in February. The stores are filled with all kinds of light and bright spring clothes -- or worse "cruise-wear." Unfortunately neither spring nor a cruise is really on the horizon right now -- especially the latter as spring will, I trust, come eventually. It is just awful to buy any kind of open-toed, strappy, sanadaly type shoe or an adorable outfit for Zoë now when even the warmest possible day would not call for such a thing. Who wants to look at a brand new pair of shoes and know that you can't even wear them for months? No thanks. As it is I have to fight to get Zoë to dress warmly enough -- what kind of message does it send if I bring home summer clothes now? February is a ruiner of shopping!

It is just one of the many reasons why I loathe the month of February. Therefore I feel it is time I continue my February tradition by posting the following passage:

They say that February is the shortest month, but you know they could be wrong.

Compared, calendar page against calendar page, it looks to be the shortest, all right. Spread between January and March like lard on bread, it fails to reach the crust on either slice. In its galoshes it's a full head shorter than December, although in leap years, when it has growth spurts, it comes up to April's nose.

However more abbreviated than it's cousins it may look, February feels longer than any of them. It is the meanest moon of winter, all the more cruel because it will masquerade as spring, occasionally for hours at a time, only to rip off it's mask with a sadistic laugh and spit icicles into every gullible face, behavior that grows quickly old.

February is pitiless, and it's boring. That parade of red numerals on its page adds up to zero: birthdays of politicians, a holiday reserved for rodents, what kind of celebrations are those? The only bubble in the flat champagne of February is Valentine's Day. It was no accident that our ancestors pinned Valentine's day on February's shirt: he or she lucky enough to have a lover in frigid, antsy February has cause for celebration, indeed.

Except to the extent that it "tints the buds and swells the leaves within" February is as useless as the extra r in it's name. It behaves like an obstacle, a wedge of slush and mud and ennui holding both progress and contentment at bay.

If February is the color of lard on rye, its aroma is that of wet wool trousers. As for sound, it is an abstract melody played on a squeaky violin, the petty whine of a shrew with cabin fever. O February, you may be little but you're small! Where you twice your tiresome length, few of us would survive to greet the merry month of May.

from Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

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