Friday, December 26, 2008

Oh, Tannenbomb

At right: The Happy Light. No, really. It's the actual name.

How embarassing is it to contract a raging bout of SAD in what is easily the wimpiest Fairbanks winter in recent memory?

That question was not rhetorical. It sucks. I've lost at least 453 Alaska points. It is like getting beaten by the Detroit Lions, who I must add, are my home team.

I'm getting my ass kicked by a winter that could have occurred in the Lower 48 in the year that my home team is going to set THE record for being the worst team ever in the recorded history of team sports. Why settle for mere medicocrity when one can find the athletic equivalent of absolute zero?

No 40 below yet. Not once. Barely, maybe an unofficial -29. The propane hasn't stopped flowing due to the cold. No squarish tires in the morning. The dog hasn't once curled up into a ball rather than do her business.

But here I sit, grumpy and fidgety alternating with sluglike, and having not posted since Barack Obama was elected President. This is as bad as my first Alaskan winter, some years ago, when over the course of the dark months I changed my hair color 3 times. I had a housemate cut my hair, but all he knew how to cut was an angled bob. As other housemates also succumbed to SAD, by the end of winter we morphed into this pack of angled bob wearing women with bad home dye jobs.

Ah, even now I feel myself slipping back into the sweet embrace of slugdom. Slugdom, of course, being improved vastly with a bottle of dark, dark beer:

Let's just say that my approach to winter has been Sheaf Stout, fried foods and really bad television series through Netflix.

Flic, (despite her tree-killing tendencies) has remained reasonably sane and cheerful, a state she attributes to her purchase of the "Happy Light." One of my coworkers has one on her desk. Supposedly 15-30 minutes per days "guarantees a positive mood." Yeah, well, go ahead and try it, Happy Light.

Flic has been a very good friend this winter, i.e. a very patient one, though I suspect she is getting tired of my brush offs about the Happy Light. In fact, she made me swear that before I do anything rash (be it relationship or otherwise) that I will buy a light and use it first.

Of course, being perverse and in the throes of SAD, I have another theory: it's been too damn easy this year. See, the reasoning is that when it is as cold and dark as it ought to be, I'm conscious of the necessity of making an effort. In times like this year, with no external factors influencing my behavior, I'm a great big slug. What I need, in that case, is not a Happy Light, but a good healthy dose of -40. A shock to the system, if you will.

We'll see soon, though. If the National Weather Service is right, the temperatures are finally going to drop tonight and stay with us until next week at least.


KC said...

Your memory is getting weak. Last year we were fending off melting ice around this time! Surely that's even wimpier of a winter?

Speaking of the Lions, I remember the old phrase from back in MI (I lived there, once upon a life) - `Go Lions! And please, dear god, take the Tigers with you!` Hey, the wings are doing pretty okay, though. Aside from their loss to the Preds tonight.

JMBC said...

Did you have a summer up there this year? We didn't have much sun this summer here in Anchorage, and I had to pull out the sad lamp at the end of August instead of October - I'm beginning to wonder why I bothered putting it away - It was the grayest dreariest summer I can remember (since the 70's in state, since the 80's in Anchorage).

The lamp doesn't make me happy, its a good dose of sunlight which keeps me from homicidal/suicidal fantasies/actions. With breakfast and the newspaper, it makes a difference - even the cat likes it, and sits with me while its on -

Also, the doc recommended 1000 IUs of vitamin D every day - and it seems to be helping - I am hoping for clear and cold down here, and I'll spend the day bundled up and worshipping the sun!

BTW, you already know that drinking a central nervous system depressant when you are depressed is counterproductive, right?

We're gaining light as of the 21st - soon it will be summer and the sun will set in the north and all will be forgotten - Good Luck and Happy Holidays.

KC said...

You just had to open your mouth, didn't you? :p

CabinDweller said...

KC: Yes, I remember last year. But we had had some normal cold by then, whether it went melty for bit. We've had no serious hit. Yet.

JMBC: Summer was pretty bum, it seems like it rained a good chunk of July. And the real reason to live in the Interior (from a transplant's perspective) is for the awesome summers. (Meaning, warm and sunny frequently.) As for the wisdom of partaking of a depressant - as you so wisely point out - I have a real hard time doing things sometimes that I know I ought. It's too logical, you know? But it's getting better, probably because of that extra 2 minutes and 15 seconds of sunlight we're gaining tomorrow.

That, or the fact that I started getting some work outs in again.

CabinDweller said...

KC: Yeah, it's something of a habit. (And how timely!) :)

Ishmael said...

Remember, the benefits of a SAD light come from intensity and duration of exposure. Too dim and not long enough and you get no help.

the opposite is true for some: Too much of a good bright light and you may become manic.

Best of luck with it. While living in Soldotna, I tried to buy one from a Homer company once, but shipping was insane. I called the guy and he said they were shipped from New Jersey. Could I drive down to the Cosmic Hamlet and pick one up? No, because they're made in NJ, too.