Got the (Cabin) Fever

If you think the flu is the worst bug that can hit you in the winter, you've obviously never had a case of cabin fever



Illustration by Brad Fitzpatrick

As a born and bred New Hampshire writer I've always lived life as a borderline reckless optimist, wildly assuming that I know what the future holds. Maybe that's because I'm older now than when I was younger. Don't laugh. That's not as easy to oversimplify as it sounds.

I've also always gone against the grain of that other simple adage and followed "you can't get here from there" as my life's compass, but it's safe to assume that 2013 will eventually bring to a close another typical New Hampshire mid-winter and together we'll face the next big climate change, otherwise known as late winter. No, not early spring; that won't arrive until early summer.

Right about now those of us who aren't moose, Bode Miller or trees are spending more time indoors than outdoors. Yes, unless "sled dog" or "downhill" are our living winter verbs, or we can only enjoy our nouns while cavorting alfresco in six layers of clothing, it's nigh on Cabin Fever time.

Personally, I prefer my cavorts in one layer or less and slightly above room temperature.

(If you're one of that baffling ilk who say, "at least you can dress for the cold," I can't help you; I'll never understand you, and may the penguins of paradise march into your carburetors.)

"Do you find yourself staring at the floor and it's the wall?"

But we do live in this Granite State willingly so we can't complain without adding a qualifier: suffering through these interminable winters affords us a deeper appreciation and enjoyment of our other 11 seasons (rimshot mandatory). Granite Staters are nothing if not well seasoned.

But winter leaves us stuck with the one malady we can't use as an excuse to call in sick: "Sorry, I can't work today. It's too cold outside and the doctor's treating me for Cabin Fever." You'd do better to tell your boss that you've contracted the Heebie Jeebies but I don't advise it.

Still, as self-conscripted, granite-hardened boondockers willing to trudge through the cold, dark days from winter solstice to vernal equinox, we're entitled to some guidelines to diagnosing the Cabin Fever malady:

Did you look above the sink today to that nail still holding the Thanksgiving turkey wishbone, retrieve said clavicle, make a wish and traditionally snap the holiday furcula in a fit of longing for brighter, warmer days? You're there.

Did you do this with no one else around, and couldn't decide whether it was you who got your wish or someone impersonating you who didn't? You're especially there.

Do you find yourself staring at the floor and it's the wall?

Have you put on the six layers of thermal wear just to go spend the morning sitting on your frozen Harley in the barn?

Did you do this while making those "potato-potato" engine noises in the back of your throat? Oh, dear.

Have you forgotten where you put your glasses and they're on your head? Can you not bear to open your freezer door? Are you making peepholes with your tongue on the ice inside your windows?

Face it. You've sprung a fever, and there's only one remedy: A little more seasoning.

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