Bites, and Sniffles, and Other Joys of Spring





Spring makes me giddy, dizzy, my heart skips—or possibly, it’s my allergies.

There’s no such thing as the perfect time of the year. Having said that, a bad day in summer is better than a good day in winter, and if you don’t believe me, ask a meteorologist. Do you know that of all assaults on forecasters, 95% happen during winter? This year, Boston weathermen had to go into the witness protection program.

The other 5% happen during heat waves, which proves my earlier point.

In spring, exhausted sprouts poke through the slush, and hungry deer stop shivering for the first time since November. Those who weren’t hit by cars, I mean. People love flowers, and deer—that aren’t in their driving path. People don’t love mosquitos, but they also come out every spring. Deer don’t love mosquitos. Nobody loves mosquitos. Other mosquitos, I suppose.

Yet there they are, and I’d rather be bitten by fifty mosquitos than experience the definition of “wind chill factor”. It’s a comparative thing, but it’s not apples and oranges: It’s liver and Brussels sprouts. I’d rather eat fifty Brussels sprouts than one piece of liver, but that doesn’t mean I like them.

During a trip to Missouri, I discovered after about a dozen bites that I was allergic to their mosquitos, which are just like ours but talk like Mark Twain. As I lay there suffering, I thought: “Hey … I’m not cold!” Granted, I was running a 101 degree fever at the time, but still.

I got tested a few years ago, and found out I was allergic to every substance humans can be allergic to. (Except foods. I have no explanation.) That would seem to make summer a bad thing, because that’s when the allergens come out.  Coming into contact with many things causes a severe reaction: Bugs, mold, dust, bikini ladies …

Well, my wife said I’d suffer if I came into contact with bikini ladies, so that pretty much qualifies as an allergy.

But it turns out I’m also allergic to winter. I’d always said that, but now I have medical proof: the diagnosis of Seasonal Affected Disorder, which means the short, cold days of winter make me feel lousy. This has probably been a problem from the first time humans ventured north to cross the land bridge into America:

“I just don’t feel like getting out from under the bearskin.”

“Ogg, you have mastodons to hunt and cave drawings to—draw. Now, get out there or it will get glacial in here!”

At least they didn’t have to do spring cleaning for another 30,000 years.

Another complaint about warm weather is, of course, that it gets too warm. “You can put on clothes when it’s cold,” people say, “but you can’t take off clothes when it’s too hot.”

What, you’ve never heard of nudist colonies? No one has ever frozen to death at a nudist colony, yet many people wearing layers upon layers have frozen to death in winter. At the same time, many people have been known to suffer heat related injuries in December … although I’ll grant you most of those people were in Australia.

Then there are tornadoes. Although twisters can happen any time of the year, in northern Indiana they’re most common while you’re grilling at the picnic, rather than shoveling snow. Can you imagine the drifts? That should be the next Syfy original movie: “Snow Tornado”, staring Pauly Shore and Shannen Doherty. “Watch as Corey Feldman’s frozen body gets sucked into an ice funnel!” I’d watch it.

But again, no one has ever frozen to death during a tornado. In fact, the average tornado is around five hundred feet across and on the ground for five miles, while the average snowstorm named by The Weather Channel lasts three weeks and affects 93 million people in nineteen states, and hits Boston twice.

Also, tornadoes give some relief in heat waves. According to my calculations, on a 90 degree day a three hundred mile an hour wind produces a wind chill factor of 64.2 degrees. That’s close to perfect. Granted, there will be issues with holding down your picnic, but I’ll bet no ants show up.

In short, I wasn’t crazy when I got in my car the other day and gave a happy cheer at becoming uncomfortable warm before I turned the heater on. I love Indiana two-thirds of the time. Insect bites, heat exhaustion, and uncontrollable sneezing are just part of the charm.
             
If you don’t believe me, ask the guy who slipped on the ice last January, got buried in a snow drift, and couldn’t reach his phone because it was under five layers of clothes. I mean, if you can find him.

Me last year, with flowers ... and sneezing. And if you look carefully, you can see a mosquito. But I'm still happy.