Working in Palo Alto has given me just a taste of what all my East Coast transplant friends have complained about Northern California for: the general lack of seasons. In the last couple of years climate change has flubbed up Nor*Cal’s usual patterns (Last year it snowed in Fremont, something that hasn’t happened since another particularly cold winter in 2001 or so.) and we’ve seen colder cold and warmer warm. I started working in Palo Alto in January, and in that almost-year since, I have experienced two seasons. It has been Spring-slash-Summer since April, and it’s kind of been driving me nuts.
I don’t dislike sun, but it kind of sends my biological clock on a trip. Working indoors every day for six months makes me feel like I’m being barred from an Endless Summer outside, which is kind of a big suck. It’s cruel. The sun is on recess and I’m inside writing about the clothes you should buy for Fall and Winter. It’s confusing.
Fall weather finally hit Palo Alto about three weeks ago, but not without interruptions of blissfully sunny days since. Once I realized I was driving home in the dark at 6 p.m., I had a minor freakout. Of excitement. I have never been so relieved for shorter days and the prospect of rain. When I was young and impressionable, I tried to act cool to my sister when she said “Fall fashion is so boring,” and I eagerly agreed, like, “Yeah, so boring!” But shit, now, I cannot wait to put on a fucking sweater!
Once the Bay’s very few leaves started falling, blips from my favorite McSweeney’s essay (EVER.) came to mind. Here’s Colin Nissan’s “It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers.”
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my hands on some fucking gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my dining room table. That shit is going to look so seasonal. I’m about to head up to the attic right now to find that wicker fucker, dust it off, and jam it with an insanely ornate assortment of shellacked vegetables. When my guests come over it’s gonna be like, BLAMMO! Check out my shellacked decorative vegetables, assholes. Guess what season it is—fucking fall. There’s a nip in the air and my house is full of mutant fucking squash.
I may even throw some multi-colored leaves into the mix, all haphazard like a crisp October breeze just blew through and fucked that shit up. Then I’m going to get to work on making a beautiful fucking gourd necklace for myself. People are going to be like, “Aren’t those gourds straining your neck?” And I’m just going to thread another gourd onto my necklace without breaking their gaze and quietly reply, “It’s fall, fuckfaces. You’re either ready to reap this freaky-assed harvest or you’re not.”
Carving orange pumpkins sounds like a pretty fitting way to ring in the season. You know what else does? Performing an all-gourd reenactment of an episode of Diff’rent Strokes—specifically the one when Arnold and Dudley experience a disturbing brush with sexual molestation. Well, this shit just got real, didn’t it? Felonies and gourds have one very important commonality: they’re both extremely fucking real. Sorry if that’s upsetting, but I’m not doing you any favors by shielding you from this anymore.
The next thing I’m going to do is carve one of the longer gourds into a perfect replica of the Mayflower as a shout-out to our Pilgrim forefathers. Then I’m going to do lines of blow off its hull with a hooker. Why? Because it’s not summer, it’s not winter, and it’s not spring. Grab a calendar and pull your fucking heads out of your asses; it’s fall, fuckers.
Have you ever been in an Italian deli with salamis hanging from their ceiling? Well then you’re going to fucking love my house. Just look where you’re walking or you’ll get KO’d by the gauntlet of misshapen, zucchini-descendant bastards swinging from above. And when you do, you’re going to hear a very loud, very stereotypical Italian laugh coming from me. Consider yourself warned.
For now, all I plan to do is to throw on a flannel shirt, some tattered overalls, and a floppy fucking hat and stand in the middle of a cornfield for a few days. The first crow that tries to land on me is going to get his avian ass bitch-slapped all the way back to summer.
Welcome to autumn, fuckheads!