Kage Baker felt that February was incontestably the most boring month of the year. She thought it was a very good idea that is is also the shortest, as it’s pretty much an endurance test. Cabin fever, ennui, petite malaise – all guests of February.
The holiday season is over and done with; any sweeties you may have forgotten to eat are probably in a doubtful state by now. Chocolate with vitiligo is so unappetizing … The “new” has worn off all your presents, even if you are too old to have broken them. But you’ve read the books, worn the clothes, played the games, installed the software, listened to the music. You may even have housebroken the new puppy. There is not really a decent holiday on the horizon, either, not one where you might get the day off or some astounding goodie.
Well, there was the multi-culture clash on the 2nd. Candlemas, Groundhog Day, Imbolc – you could get your candles blessed while waving branches of box wood, chasing your local burrowing rodents about in pursuit of shadows: which sounds exciting but is probably not worth the trouble it takes to set up. Kage and I used to put up some box (when anyone in the neighborhood had a box hedge) and dine by candlelight … never could figure out how to work the Groundhog in, though.
And of course, there is Valentine’s Day, but that is fraught with pitfalls. If you’re a kid, your parents make you bring a Valentine to school for every kid – even the ones with whom you are mortal enemies; that is, if your school has not forbidden Valentines altogether on the grounds of sexual harassment. And if you are a grown up, there are all sorts of other horrendous choices. Do you give chocolates or diamonds? Godiva’s and a little velvet box, or Whitman’s Milk Assortment and rhinestones? If you are in romantic extremis and don’t even have a Valentine, there is nothing quite as depressing as buying your own choccies and eating them in depressed solitude …
There is always Presidents’ Day, of course. Wow, that’s a big one, isn’t it? If you’re old enough, you remember when it was two separate days, Washington’s and Lincoln’s individual birthdays; you made construction paper hatchets and stove pipe hats in school, and Momma made cherry tarts. Nowadays it’s one amorphous 3-day holiday, nobody mentions the iconic Presidents except furniture and car salesmen touting sales, and most folks just treat it as one more long weekend with beer.
The weather tends to be dull or uncomfortable. This year, most of the United States is freezing to death. My agent Linn, a denizen of New York City, has informed me that the snow hasn’t melted in 10 days; it’s outrageous, she says, they are getting Upstate weather. Here in Southern California, the weather hasn’t even managed to become inconvenient, though. Mostly it’s just chilly enough to need a sweater – at least for the first 20 minutes you go outside, then it gets too warm and you have to figure out somewhere to put it. There’s a thin layer of clouds on the sky, like soup scum, and everything is overlaid with a faint tinge of beige.
On a February day like this, Kage would curl up in her arm chair and watch The Wrong Box. We’d order some ethnic takeout for dinner, and read graphic novels and check out just how horrible the latest SciFi Original movie was. It’d be a good night for the antics of some shark/badger hybrid chasing college kids.
Come to think of it, it still is. Hiow can I be bored with all this in the offing? I’m gonna go read The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and meditate on the virtues of chow fun versus Philly cheese steak …