Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Summertime blues

I only smile in the dark
My only comfort is the night gone black
I didn't accidentally tell you that
--Garbage, "Only Happy When It Rains"
Ahh...a blissfully cloudy day. I might actually get some work done.

Much fuss is made of the more common winter version of Seasonal Affective Disorder* (SAD), but just try to find hints for those of us with daytime concentration issues during May and June, beyond the tossed-off phrase, "There is also a summer version of seasonal affective disorder, but this is far less common and has different symptoms."

Gee, thanks. That's really helpful.

The little research this topic has garnered (largely here in the Washington, DC, area, where summers are notoriously miserable) indicates that bad summer moods stem from the heat and humidity.

For me, that ain't it. Sure, I hate riding in a black car on a summer day as much as anyone. Pant, pant. But after several hours in an air-conditioned room, a free sauna can be a good thing. A hot summer night is one of my favorite seasonal experiences, stepping outside to feel the soft evening air on my skin, without even thinking about a shiver.

Emphasis on night, you'll notice. Whereas most people need a certain amount of light to feel normal, I need a certain amount of dark. I'm not saying this to create a Goth-y persona or make me sound special or mysterious. It's just a fact. Sunny days make me restless.

Maybe it goes back to the childhood litany of "It's a nice day, go play outside!" when what I really wanted to do was sit in a chair and read a book.

Maybe it's the ever-present weeds that need pulling. Weeds magically disappear at night.

Whatever it is, during the summer I only feel settled after dark. Morning feels like an Ambien hangover without the Ambien, and I long to go back to bed, but one cup of tea or coffee sends me into caffeine overdrive. I'm a-twitchin' and a-bitchin' all day long.

The only remedy is a cloudy day like today. It's a serene 73 degrees, the windows are open, and the mockingbird chatter is at a tolerable level, allowing me to hear the gorgeous twitter of a red-winged blackbird across the lane.

Aw, crap, the sun just came out. Guess it's down to the basement, where I'll huddle like a tornado victim until sunset.

Anyone else have this problem, or am I just insane?

*Li'l known fact: Despite the lack of winter sunlight, Icelanders rarely get SAD.


In my case summer is the best time to stay indoors and do little things. It gets so hot here in NJ. Even worse is the roaring heat is combined with a lot of humidity and being outside is just no fun. In summer, I stay in and read a lot. It's the only way to survive. I mean, it's only May 31st and it is already 93 degrees out and very humid. It's gonna be a long, miserable summer.

Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 5/31/2006 2:14 PM

Sunny days just make me want to go outside and play.

Cleverly, I have a job which allows me to do that!

Posted by: Blogger CE Murphy at 5/31/2006 3:25 PM

"Anyone else have this problem, or am I just insane?"

It's not really and either-or question, is it?

In the words of Buckaroo Banzai, "yes on one, no on two."

Posted by: Blogger Andrew at 6/01/2006 4:14 PM

P.S. This past Friday was a wonderful day and guess what my oldest wanted to do? Yup - sit inside and read a book. Oh, yeah, and play Monopoly with Daddy. (Yes!)

Posted by: Blogger Andrew at 6/01/2006 4:17 PM

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