Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Man For One Season

So now that we are three weeks into the fall season, allow me to out myself: I love fall. It is my favorite season of the year. Though Andy Williams is quite correct when he sings that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas is not a season. Winter is a season, and as we all know, winter blows. Literally. White Christmases are lovely, that is, until you have to scrape ice off your car's windshield. That can suck the holiday glow out of just about anybody.

My love for fall began back in the early 90s when I was living in Chicago. I can recall walking along the north side during a typically blustery October Saturday. I was on my way to catch a matinee of the movie "Rudy." As I pulled my jacket collar up to cover my nippy ears, a thought popped inside my wind-blown head: I love this. The sweaters, the cool air, the walking against the wind, all of it. It's the closest I ever come to feeling like I live in a "Peanuts" holiday special.

Fall is actually the best time to live in Chicago, what with the mild temperatures and beautiful changing colors of the leaves. Spring is nice, but woefully brief. Summer can get way too humid. And a winter in Chicago is truly one of Dante's circles in Hell, albeit the kind in which Hell can actually freeze.

I live in Los Angeles and we don't really get much of a fall here. Fall in L.A. pretty much means rain, which, when you have sunny skies for 350 days of the year, you actually begin to appreciate. Its been raining for two straight days now and I could not be happier. I guess I'm more of an "every silver lining has a dark cloud" kind of guy.

So before I break into a Busby Berkely-esque dance number about my love for the weather between late September and late December, here is my list of reasons why you, if you haven't already, should fall for fall.

1. Pumpkins spice lattes ~ It seemed as if Starbucks used to have a monopoly on these babies, but you can get these pretty much anywhere that serves coffee nowadays. They're deliciously hot, creamy, and yes, a little spicy. For you bargain hunters out there, 7-11 has them for 99 cents - that's about three times less expensive than those big fancy places. You're welcome.

2. Fall TV shows ~ I'm more of a movie guy (see #3) but there is something inherently exciting about having new shows to watch this time of year. Sadly, the only new show I've seen so far this year is "Fast Forward," which is really trippy. It's hard to make time for the new ones when you can barely keep up with the old ones. I have all the existing episodes of "Modern Family," "Cougar Town," and "Community" backlogged on my DVR queue, so I have my work cut out for me.

3. Fall movies ~ Don't get me wrong, I love summer movies as much as the next popcorn-chomping member of Generation SW (Star Wars), but after three months of huge explosions, wall-to-wall CGI, and English-speaking rodents, it's nice to have some films that are least a little quieter. I'm really looking forward to BRIGHT STAR, the Coen Brothers' A SERIOUS MAN, and the George Clooney-Ewan Macgregor comedy THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS. Fall movies are often early Oscar-baiters, but at least their box office numbers aren't as hugely magnified as the summer tentpoles.

4. Halloween ~ This is another spot on the calendar I've come to embrace. Sure, I loved Halloween as a kid, but there inevitably comes that time in your late teens and early 20s when you're too cool for school and you stop dressing up. Those days are over for me - I think Halloween is like Mardi Gras for those of us who can't hike it down to the French Quarter. And, of course, Halloween leads me to my next fave...

5. Candy ~ Once summer ends, so does all of our promises to stay in shape (which, lets face it, didn't really come to pass, did they?) So with the approach of All Hallow's Eve comes our desire to eschew summer salads in favor of candy corn, marshmallow pumpkins, and those wonderful fun-sized candy bars. I think they call them fun-sized because we kid ourselves into thinking that eating fifteen of those suckers in a row isn't as bad as eating one regular size 3 Musketeers. Oh, the webs of deception us mortals weave.

You might have noticed that I left out football season. It wasn't by accident. I'm not a sports fan in any way, shape, or form. Still, I must admit, I do enjoy the sound of a football game coming from a TV I'm not watching. Why? Because it means there's a good chance I'm on my way to get a pumpkin spice latte before hitting a matinee at the movie theater with my pockets stuffed with mini-Milky Way bars. In which case, I'm having a very, very, good day.

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