Excess leads to distress. New York is enveloped in a deep fog. These are two reasons why I’m stuck in a permanent midnight with a Butterfinger hangover this morning. About seven pounds of candy are left over from Halloween. When I realized all the Trick or Treating was over for the night, I ate about 15 miniature Butterfingers. I just took an early taste from the Hair of the Dog, in fact. But the worst part is the sun not coming up this morning. It’s well past time for the sun to rise. Instead, we get a spitting rain. Nice, New York. And I was just bragging about you to everyone the other day.
The sun was a regular feature of my life in the South, especially when I lived at the beach near Wilmington, North Carolina. You could have a sunny day at the beach. Or you could have an extra-sunny-day-with-sunburn-on-top at the beach. Slick yourself up with sunblock if you like. I painted myself like a warrior with the stuff. “That’s not how you apply sunblock,” my wife explained. “There’s a specific way to apply sunblock? Sorry, I haven’t read the manual on that.”
I often feel there’s a specific way to do everyday things for which I have not read the manual. Did you know there are many different types of knots for men’s ties and each conveys a specific type of formality and code for success? I did not, until one day when I had to look up how to tie knots for ties on the internet when I realized I hadn’t done it for so long I had forgotten how. Then I remembered I was always lousy at it when I did sort-of know how.
Did you know there is an art to wearing a scarf? Oh yes. Blogs and books are devoted to this arcane art. Robyn says she is not good at wearing a scarf. Some women are born to wear scarves. Others read scarf manuals and blogs and the scarf doesn’t work on them no matter what they try.
Back to the sun. You never miss it until it’s gone. One morning, you wake up and the time has changed and the sun is gone. I am not a great fan of daylight savings time. It throws off our natural rhythms. I am starting a petition to abolish it, in fact. It’s purpose has been outlived. How many of us are farmers? Not so many. It’s like wisdom teeth. Ancient and unnecessary. We have adapted and no longer need time to be saved. Let’s spend time and quite saving it, I say.
When we lived in Florida, there was also too much of a good thing when it came to sunlight. There was burning hot, searing heat and slow-bake heat. On a really bad day, there was set-your-controls-for-the-heart-of-the sun heat. You touched things like car handles and steering wheels gingerly at first to test their heat. You put a towel down in the car seat to keep the backs of your legs from frying. You found shade. You found natural fresh water springs where the temperature was always frigid.
One summer, I made it my mission to try as many fresh water springs as Florida offered. This was fantastic. At one spring, Avery and I climbed about 50 feet up to a platform and jumped into infinity. We went down forever in the icy depths. You emerged chilled to the bone, shaking and chattering madly. Within ten seconds, you were half-baked in the heat and ready to jump into the spring again.
Back to the sun. I worked at a job that started before sunlight in Wilmington. This job required me to be there at 6 a.m. to start work. I was not officially awake until 7:30 a.m. But I came in anyway. Many years before that, I worked a night shift from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. at a printing place in Durham. When night is day and day is night, who knows right from wrong any more? Working third shift is supposed to take years off the end of your life. I can see that. I grew to hate the sun when I got off work and went home to sleep and the sun insisted on shining brightly. This is no way to live.
Let me sum up. The sun is your friend. You need the sun. If I had my way, I would only work at jobs whose hours were perfectly timed for daylight, no moonlit work for me. Maybe I could be a sundial repairman. I picture myself answering the sundial repair hotline. “No ma’am, I know you have a busy schedule. But I can’t come earlier than this or later than that. How would I be able to tell if I fixed it without sunlight?”