Today is March 7, and it is 66 degrees (Fahrenheit) and sunny in downtown Cleveland.
This is glorious.
So glorious, in fact, that I began to have delusions while riding the bus back to campus from lunch out with Bieler. “Hey,” I said, “when it gets really warm, we should go down the mall and sit in the sun on our lunch break.” We were apparently suffering from the same bout of sun-inspired madness, because she enthusiastically agreed. The same picture was painting itself into both our heads: the sun would magically transform us into flat-stomached supermodels with perfect base tans as we lounged on the grass, the wind off the lake tousling our perfectly-styled hair as we read glossy magazines (Bust for her, Car & Driver for me) and sipped at icy drinks in styrofoam cups.
I have this delusion a lot. Let me tell you how it goes in real life: my stomach is never flat, I am never tan, the wind ties my hair into knots and I spill my drink into the grass, which is laden with bird guano. Sitting outside in the sun is never as much fun in practice as it is in imagination.
I’m not alone, though: the businesspeople downtown are also suffering from sun madness today. They’ve flocked outside, strutting busily down the city sidewalks like oversize pigeons in suits and heels. Here on campus, my fellow students are eschewing the library and instead lounging around in the courtyard, smoking cigarettes and pretending to study. The construction workers across the street have stripped off their coats, local businesses have their doors propped open, cars are zipping along Euclid Avenue with the windows down and the radio turned up.
The days are growing longer, too. When I step out of my seminar class tonight, I won’t have to rely on streetlights to guide my way. I will not be blinded by a multitude of car headlights while crossing the street to the train station, and the Rapid will pull out of the darkness of the station into the warm glow of a lakeside sunset. The train itself may be the same dirty thing I’ve been riding almost daily for the past year, but this time it’ll be pleasant, because everyone will be happy after a day of sun delusions.
Alas, it can’t last. The weather in Cleveland is infamously bipolar, and it’s only the beginning of March. It is supposed to rain tomorrow and be cold again on Friday. We might enjoy a nice weekend, but it’s too soon to know for sure.
Sun madness isn’t always a bad thing, though–it holds the promise of summer days that stretch on for hours past a proper bedtime, filled with sunlight and warmth and seasonal beer. It’s the kind of stuff that makes you want to run out and spend all your money on a twenty-year-old convertible with a leaky roof and a loud stereo. It promises that winter will not last forever, that people aren’t always bad, and that fruity hefeweizen will one day stock the supermarket shelves in abundance, with a display of cheap citrus nearby. Cars are never crap in summer, your hair always looks healthier in the sun, and it becomes socially acceptable to do nothing. I’ve yet to meet a person who hates summer.
What are you doing this fine day, dear reader? Has the sun madness affected you, too?