By all these lovely tokens September days are here, With summer’s best of weather And autumn’s best of cheer. —Helen Hunt Jackson
Just go ahead and throw the calendar out now. The whole thing is totally screwed.
I was having a discussion with our seven-year-old, the one who adamantly insists that he already knows everything, and mentioned that he has a four-day weekend coming up (lucky brat). He looked up at me with some surprise. “Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. That’s only three days. Learn to count.”
“You have Monday off, too,” I said. “It’s Labor Day.”
“What’s Labor Day?” He asked, destroying that notion that he knows everything.
“The first Monday after the first Sunday in September,” I said. “It’s the end of summer vacation.”
This confused the child who has been in school a month already. “No, it’s not,” he immediately insisted. “This is already Autumn. Summer was a long time ago.”
There you have it; forget what the calendar says. September is completely out of alignment. Fall started when school did, which means September’s insistence that the Autumnal season doesn’t begin until the 22nd is totally out of step. Kids, and stores, are talking about Halloween. And Christmas. Hell, if you’re not looking at a 2017 calendar you’re already behind. Never mind those silly things like the earth’s rotation and tilt in its track around the sun. Seasons are totally flexible and fall wherever we want, don’t they? Apparently, that’s what we’re supposed to think.
Things That Happen In September
I don’t like this misalignment. Sure, it’s been happening for years. Little by little, retailers have been putting out decorations months in advance of the actual event. September has always been a bit of a pivotal moment in the calendar, though. Our last turn toward the end of the year. We didn’t rush that changing of seasons when I was a kid. We wanted to squeeze every last bit of summer in that we possibly could. With schools starting increasingly early, however, it has totally thrown September out of balance. Our sense of timing is off. If kids are in school, it must be later in the year than we think. Mix that with the already aggressive out-of-season marketing and no one is quite sure what we’re supposed to experience in September. Here, let me help. These are some of the things that should happen in September.
- The return of football. I know not everyone’s a fan. This season it’s rather like visiting a Catholic church when you’re not Catholic: no one is quite sure when you’re supposed to sit and when you’re supposed to stand. Still, this Saturday, college teams around the country kick off another round of bone-crushing, concussion-inducing sport that stirs the primal instinct of head butting. Football is an acceptable level of violence. So it tailgating. We’re ready.
- Fashion week. This season, it begins in New York on the 8th. There’s going to be a lot of confusion even here, though. Normally, we would see designs for next spring/summer. But with the increased move to direct-to-consumer sales, an increasing number of labels are showing current season designs. Several totally skipped last February’s shows, which is when fall/winter is normally shown, and are showing those cooler weather clothes now. But not everyone’s doing that. So, we’re going to see everything from bikini’s to parkas on the runway.
- 9/11. This year is the 15th anniversary of this tragic event. Given that we’re in the midst of one of the ugliest and most ridiculous presidential campaigns ever, I fully expect the day to be dominated not by remembrance but political appropriation of the day. My prediction is for a lot of hot air that is totally and completely meaningless. Respectful people will take a moment to reflect on all we lost on that day.
- Autumn. For real. The dictates of the planet say that the autumnal equinox occurs on the 22nd of the month. Not before. Not after. Put up your damn overcoats, 65° isn’t that cold. In fact, most of the US won’t have seen a hint of frost prior to this date. We’re experiencing global warming, remember? Fall starts here. Build a bonfire and enjoy.
Things That Don’t Happen In September
While too many people seem willing to ignore the things that are supposed to happen in September, they’re more than willing to insert things into the month that just don’t belong here. Stop it. Stop trying to make your pitiful life pass any faster than it already is. You’ll regret this rushed attitude later when you begin to actually value the number of days you have left. Not everything belongs in this month. Let these things stay put.
- Halloween. I love playing dress up and assuming alternate identities as much as the next person (okay, not really), but Halloween belongs in October. The end of October. Feel free to pull the skeletons out of your closet on October 1, not before.
- Pumpkin Harvests. No. Stop. The pumpkins aren’t ready yet, damn it. Get your big, lumbering feet out of the fields, you’re trampling all over the vines. You’re not being all connected with nature. You’re being pretentious and ridiculous and you just need to fucking stop. Pumpkin Harvest comes mid- to late-October. Put your spice on hold until then.
- Christmas. Sure, go ahead and start shopping if you can really be that frugal and patient and actually know what people are going to want/need in four months. Decorating, though? Don’t you dare. Holiday sweaters? Put those damn things up; they’re ugly anyway. And if I hear a single note of “Jingle Bells” before December 1 I’m slapping someone.
- End-Of-Year Lists. I actually saw a “Best of 2016” article last week. What the fuck? There are still four months left to the year! How can anyone possibly begin compiling a “best of … ” or “worst of …” list when there’s still so much that could happen. With the way this year has gone, we’re probably going to lose another dozen major celebrities/musicians/people of note. Just put the pen down and wait until after Christmas like the rest of us.
Showing Some Respect For The Calendar
You know, the ancients weren’t totally stupid. Even without their knowledge of how planets revolve and spin they knew that seasons fall in a certain order. They divided the year into specific periods because they understood that nature has a schedule. Nature doesn’t care about marketing two or three holidays ahead. Nature doesn’t care about what is more convenient for you. The natural order of things dictates that events are going to happen when they’re ready to happen. If you don’t like that, you can just sit over in a corner and pout.
September is an important month for even more reasons that we’ve listed. Don’t rush things. Life happens fast enough as it is. Snow will fall. Temperatures will get cold. We’ll be complaining about Winter soon enough. None of that is here yet, though. Take your time. Enjoy September.
And maybe we keep that calendar on the wall at least a couple more months.