I grew up as one of five kids in a family that lived in a house without air conditioning. When the summer months came, my siblings and I would race in and out of the house repeatedly, through a battered screen door that would burst open and then close with a loud metallic bang.
After hearing the screen door knocked open and then clatter shut in hinge-rattling fashion for one dozen, two dozen, or one hundred times, my mother — normally the most mild-mannered person you can imagine — would say, with a decided exasperation in her voice: “Bob! In or out?” That meant that you had to either come inside and stay inside, or go outside and stay outside, period. A line in the sand had been drawn. You could no longer have a foot in the inside camp and a foot in the outside camp. A decision had to be made, and you had to stick with it or run the risk of Mom’s wrath — and no one wanted to risk that.
This year, I’d like to ask spring: “In or out?”
In 2020, we’ve had the most yo-yo spring I can remember. We’ve had beautiful days where the temperature has touched the 70s, including one glorious day where I dared to wear shorts and expose my bone-white legs to the appalled world. But for each really nice day, there have been multiple brutally cold ones. Like, say, today, where the temperature as I prepare to take my walk this morning is a bracing 27 degrees and I’ll be bundling up like a contestant in the Iditarod. And yesterday, as the temperature plunged downward again, it actually snowed, which was a decidedly unwelcome sight. Few things are more dispiriting than an accumulation of snowflakes on brightly colored tulips.
Spring is normally a fickle season, but this spring has been ridiculous. And the rank indecision has been particularly unfair this year, where countless cooped up people are yearning to get out of their houses and really experience balmy spring weather in their backyards and neighborhood parks as a much-needed break from shelter-in-place restrictions. But spring, bless its capricious heart, can’t make up its mind on whether to arrive for good. It comes, and goes, and makes a cameo appearance, and then flees like a prisoner on a jailbreak. And I’ve had enough, already.
So, spring! In or out?