So Fall of It
Last spring, I lugged my Southern California life 3,000 miles east when I transferred to Syracuse University—without visiting once. Parka-clad students asked, “Why the hell would you move here?” with as much warmth as a January morning. And after a semester of weather-centric whining, I returned this fall prepared to earmuff the East Coast negativity.
Instead, I’ve encountered a new version of the SU clone—the state fair-loving, Pumpkin Spice Latte-sipping, cashmere sweater- wearing wannabe. The same people so baffled by my decision to leave Los Angeles now rep this corner of the country with more pep than the models in a Vineyard Vines catalog. This transformation defies logic and yet somehow, I’m the crazy one for moving to Central New York, where half-assed excitement for these few autumnal pseudo-traditions mark me as the ignorant one.
Yes—pseudo-traditions. I don’t think overdosing on pumpkin-spice-and-cashmere-
everything for a few months justifies tradition. I’m not against the idea of a community united by celebration; I just don’t understand what we’re celebrating. Maybe it’s a childhood of October heat waves or a lack of red-yellow- and orange memories from growing up on the East Coast, but raised in the super-season of Beachy and Balmy, I can’t relate to the fantasy fall of New England postcards. There isn’t a specific day Californians trade in boogie boards for rakes. And we’re not obligated to chug gallons of apple cider or wrap ourselves in knit scarves, either. Yet every year, these items roll out at the start of September, marking the onset of fall on the East Coast while the same hallmarks in the West have no emotional resonance.
Regardless of where you’re from, fall should be about the familiarity of spending time with friends and family while going to that stupid fair—or raking leaves, or making pumpkin bread—year after year. Put the value in seasonal traditions, not the byproducts themselves. It’s easy to get swept up in the hype of something new, but keep your “I HEART FALL” shirts out of sight. And come Snowmageddon 2013, shut up and let this warm-blooded Golden State native hold onto the warmth of home.