We are fast approaching that time in New England where people are at odds with just about everything. As we just missed yet another storm (Storm warnings!), people are trying to figure it all out. In Vermont we have had a lot of snow. And like others, the un-shoveled roof leaked a little. And this is before all the really big storms we sometimes get in March and April. The mantra “spring is in the air” has been floating around for weeks. Everyone is saying it and wanting to believe it. It is always interesting to me that as we come out of fall and into winter 35 degrees is COLD! But at this time of year, 35 degrees is the breath of spring. WIKIPEDIA describes cabin fever as this:
Cabin fever is a condition that produces restlessness and irritability caused from being in a confined space. The actual term is slang for a claustrophobic reaction that takes place when a party is isolated and/or shut in, alone or together, for an extended period. The term originated in the United States at the time when settlers would be snowed into their log cabins and had to wait for the spring thaw in order to travel to town.
Today we are looking at more time in the house, listening for the furnace to kick on and telling ourselves “spring is on the way.” Many communities across New England are running low or have run out of salt. So, what snow and ice does fall is taking longer to remove. Things are difficult for many. And it has been bitterly cold.
As a motorcyclist I am suffering. I call it PMS-Parked Motorcycle Syndrome. Only the other day I went out and sat on my bike with it running. I am not sure if the endorphins kicked in or carbon monoxide poisoning.
Cabin Fever increases with every little extra amount of sunlight we get. We realize how down we are about certain things. How many friends we have not seen, how many hours of television have been accumulated. In a few short weeks we will go to Daylight Savings Time. Why? Originally it was thought to save electricity, but I am convinced it is to save one’s sanity. We do not have to come home in the “dark.” It seems “warmer.” And we can send the kids out.
Now many people do really suffer from light deprivation and it causes depression. Over the years people have been “killed” as the result of going to work in the dark, coming home in the dark and well, welcome to New England in the winter. Whatever sign of global warming people want to embrace, I am not seeing it happen here this year.
Now there are a few signs of cabin fever.
- Tangled Christmas lights putting people over the edge.
- Wondering which snow bank your car (Or motorcycle is under.).
- Developing PMS (Parked Motorcycle Syndrome)
If the four walls of your house seem to be closing in on you, and you can not remember the last time you smiled you may be suffering from cabin fever, winter doldrums, January blahs, seasonal affective disorder or all of the above. Symptoms of cabin fever include, but are not limited to, doubling the amount of movies you order from Netflix, tripling the amount of ice cream in your freezer and quadrupling your wine and chocolate consumption.
To find out, take the following quiz (please use a number 2 pencil). If a pencil is unavailable, find an icicle.
If you circle “A” to one or more questions, throw your snow shovel in the dumpster and head for the closest beach.
1. After looking at the thermometer to discover it’s minus 15 (never mind the wind chill factor):
A. Throw the thermometer in a snow bank.
B. Throw yourself in a snow bank.
C. Cry and watch the icicles form on your cheeks.
D. Buy a one-way ticket to Florida.
2. Have you noticed any changes in your weight?
A. Dunno. The scale is in the snow bank with the thermometer.
B. My sweatpants have gained 15 pounds, not me.
C. Don’t bother me, I’m eating.
3. Have there been any changes in your sleep pattern?
A. Don’t wake me up. I’m still hibernating.
B. My dog won’t let them change.
C. I can’t sleep because the snowplow wakes me up.
D. I wake up a 5 a.m. with a strong urge to migrate.
4. When you think about mud season, do you:
A. Weep for joy.
B. Have the phone number for central reservations in Moab, Utah, on speed dial.
C. Visit a tattoo parlor and have “Beach Baby” tattooed on your forehead.
5. In the nightly wine vs. workout debate, what triumphs?
A. I choose to work out over drinking wine 90 percent of the time.
B. Where is the gym?
C. You are on a first-name basis at every liquor store in town.
D. I moved my exercise bike into the liquor store.
6. What is your screen saver?
A. Picture of Tahiti.
B. Picture of Jonny Moseley crashing through the bumps.
C. Can’t find my computer. It’s buried underneath a week’s worth of long underwear.
7. Are you in favor of adding an anti-depressant to the city water supply?
A. No thanks; I have it in I.V. form.
B. No, I drink a quart of water from the Lithium Springs daily.
C. Hurry up, what are you waiting for?
8. When a tourist kindly and sweetly asks you for directions, do you:
A. Kindly and sweetly give them accurate directions.
B. Tell them to get back on the direct flight they came in on.
C. Send them the opposite direction from where they’re going.
D. Both B and C.
9. Have you been more irritable than usual in the past week?
A. Shut up, stop asking stupid questions.
B. My neighbor’s pit bull, “Fang,” cowers when he sees me.
C. FedEx is afraid to ask for my signature.
10. What percent of your time do you spend on the computer looking for cheap flights to warm weather destinations?
A. I told you I can’t find my computer!
B. None of the time.
C. What time is it?
11. To ward off boredom, do you:
A. Drive 50 miles to visit the newest big box store.
B. Lay prostrate on your heated floors for hours.
C. Watch reruns of Hawaii Five-0 while soaking in the bathtub.
12. At 4 p.m. do you declare it:
A. Pajama hour.
B. Cocktail hour.
C. Dinner hour.
D. All of the above.
13.What music is on your iPod?
A. Jimmy Buffet on a continuous loop.
B. Jimmy Buffet on a continuous loop.
C. Both A and B.
A man’s character.
“I learned that you can tell a lot about a man’s true character by the way he handles these three things: (1) tangled Christmas lights, (2) a bad call at his kid’s athletic event and (3) how he talks about his wife when she’s not around.”