Wednesday, September 21, 2005

9-21-2005 -- Lookin' out my front door

He can go crazy or stay sane, if he can do it on six feet of chain -- Lee Hazlewood, "Six Feet of Chain"

Guess it's that time again, time for the "seasonal column"... a free pass to just sort of meander and talk about the weather, four times a year -- even more, if we get faked out by a false spring, fake summer, ersatz autumn or sham winter. This, though is pretty much real fall, right on schedule. Yep. You want to know why -- I mean know, in you soul, why -- the green-and-gold livery of the Eskies and the U of A teams should bring tears of joy and pride to your Edmontonian eyes? Go have a beer in RATT in the Students' Union Building. Crammy shitty-logo sports-bar transformation or no, that's still the best damn drinkin' view in town, and the carpet of seasonal interface foliage rolling east under the sun all the way to WEM's ad-bearing beige rollercoaster shed has just enough beauty to fuel your soul through the dreary months of Browntown.

Beauty's everywhere you care to cast your eyes these days, actually; you don't need to ride an elevator to see it. Like, out here on my front porch, Lee Hazlewood's Trouble is a Lonesome Town strumming out through the screen door, a cup of my roommate's good coffee in my hand, the smell of frying onions just barely making it up from the kitchen to mingle with that first breath of honest leaf-decay... damn. Even the long, long line of parking lots stretching all the way out to the hospital, the vehicle-storage alley that allows my west-facing front window the most suntime anyone can expect in the dark months, looks kinda majestic in this clear September light. Lots of fun party times out here on these steps this summer, shooting the shit and filling the unplanted planter with beercans and butts, watching the pretty people go by... as it gets colder that action subsides until it's only smokers briefly huddling there in the Christmas-light glow with whoever's joined them out of sympathy or desire for private words -- but that scene's got its own magic, too.

The best part about fall is the return of fall fashion. Basically, I'd be happy to live in a place where the temperature never went above eighteen and never went below, say, ten. I might have to journey to another planet to find such a climate. Or perhaps my descendants, having gone through generations aboard their gargantuan starship over the decades-long journey across the wastes of space, would be the ones to step out onto this alien world. Either way, humanity would have founded a paradise free from the grotesque excesses of summertime clothing, free from the pinched-off midriff rolls, the exposed fields of man-thatch with their concealed treasure-medallions, the peeking thongs in unnatural synthetic hues and the scuzzy wifebeaters, the boob tubes and the socks-with-sandals. A paradise, I tell you! Cuddly sweaters and well-cut jeans, casual slacks and tweed jackets, cool hoodies and warm flannel, suede sneakers and conservative Docs, this shall be the uniform of the Star People! And woe betide she who sullies the harmony of our extraplanetary streets with the sight of sweat-pants with words stamped across the ass, or he who dares sport the pseudo-urbane travesty of a sleek black "fashion leather" coat! Banished shall they be, to the wilds where the pod-tigers and vampire moss lurk, while we in our earthtoned comfy-casual apparel turn the thermostats of our living-domes down to energy-conserving levels and snuggle up with the Mr. Show DVDs we've carried with us from Mother Earth.

Ah, dreams. This is the beauty a change in the seasons brings. Not just the beauty of watching the world move in its cycles, ancient as the universe yet novel each year, but the beauty of watching your mind and the minds of your friends (and enemies) move into the new idea-spaces created by shifting times and temperatures. For me, it's a dream of voyaging through outer space to a planet where all the girls wear wholesome knit sweaters and curve-hugging Levis and all the boys dress like psychology TAs from the '60s... what's your dream, Edmontonian?

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