I have the blahs. It’s not just feeling a wee bit down, no, that I can handle. This is a full- blown, serious case of, ALL-CAPITAL-LETTERS, BLAHS. They have plagued me this whole entire week and they look like they’re going to stick around right through the weekend. Sigh! It’s mostly — well, NO, positively, 100%, absolutely because of these dreary days. What am I saying? These days are beyond dreary — they are depressive, oppressive, repressive, all of those “ives” plus a few more I can’t think of right now because my thinking process just won’t process under this heavy sky. I hate this greyness — or is it grayness? I think it depends on whether I have my American or my Canadian hat on when I’m writing. Right now I don’t care because the effect is the same no matter how I spell it.
These kinds of days bring back memories of my very first, very sad winter in Oh Canada. 1995 was the year and the murmuring ex-husband was doing his best not to give me any hint of a warm and fuzzy, loving kind of welcome. Maybe he was just preparing me for the weather, eh? Toughening me up — or he was just being selfish. All through the month of October that year, total strangers — well, everyone was a total stranger except him — would come up to me and say in a somber, foreboding kind of way, “Wait Until November!” They made it sound so apocalyptic that I started to get worried. And, since most of these people were fellow students in the Faculty of Environmental Studies, I figured they had done the research and knew what they were talking about.
But I was deceived by October. It wasn’t fair really. That year (as opposed to this one) it was incredibly beautiful — just like what I was used to in D.C. People sat in outdoor cafes pretending that it was August — or maybe just hoping that it was August. Even the murmuring ex-husband and I had martinis out on the terrace on Halloween and threw candies down to the Trick o’ Treaters — until one irate father accused us of hating children and trying to harm them. I had my head so firmly planted in the sands of denial, that on the first day of November, I decided to dress a la D.C. when I went to class. I wore little flats (no hose), a skirt (was that the last time I wore a skirt in Toronto?), one of my tailored blouses from my days in the law firm and, to top it all off, my raincoat without the zipped-in lining. I looked great that day. But when I came out of my class at 6:30 p.m. it was sleeting, cold, miserable, windy and grey. November had arrived. I never saw the sun, not once, during the whole month of November. Welcome to Toronto, Annie. It was all too much for me who was used to Washington winters which were sunny and chilly but not too cold, with one big January snow storm thrown in just so we would get a day off work.
So, I know you’re saying that I should be used to this greyness after 19 years. But-I-Am-Not! I just hate it! It makes me crabby — and it isn’t even November yet. The cats just sleep these grey days away but I can’t do that. A few years ago, Judith, my yogi friend, I think tired of my seasonal complaints and blahness, persuaded me to buy her Seasonal Affective Disorder Lamp that she, more mellow than I, didn’t need. I bought it but then couldn’t muster enough energy to take it out of the box and figure out how to use it for about two years. Finally, I asked Steven, my all-time-best-handyperson, to hang it on the wall beside my desk. I figured if it was there then just maybe I would use it when these predictable-it’s-Toronto-after-all days descended. But I forget about it being there. Instead, I turn on every lamp in the house, crank up loud music and hope that the weather person is wrong and the sun will come out tomorrow. Just like that other Annie sang about.