It starts in September, when I get the late August issues of The New Yorker. I’m always a few weeks behind because I like to read the actual magazine, not the digital one. Usually I don’t mind reading about current events from a month or so ago…until September.
In early fall, the magazine becomes a sort of arcade of impossibility: the new theater productions I won’t see; the restaurants I won’t eat at; the movies that (maybe) I’ll get to when they come out on DVD…the list seems endless. Husband reminds me that when we actually lived in Manhattan we didn’t get out much, unless you want to count standing by the sidelines of a soccer game in the cold as “getting out.” He’s right, but somehow, when we lived in New York, all those things listed in the magazine seemed at least theoretically possible. Now, given that I live in a city where there is one theater (reserved mostly for state celebrations or the occasional children’s musical), only one museum, and where all the restaurants have too many forks for comfort–now, none of it is possible.
Following hard on the heels of the culture-vulture issues of The New Yorker come the facebook posts of friends’ kids off to school in sweaters and new shoes, and then there are the photos of leaves turning, until I can almost smell the seasonal crisp in the air and I long for the crunch of just-picked apples on sale at the Union Square Greenmarket. True, I could just turn off facebook but then there’s that whole I-might-wither-up-and-die thing. Turn off Facebook? I shudder to think.
It’s not really that I miss seasons–because lord knows I do not miss February–it’s just that I miss fall. I miss that gathering up of breath and energy after the sprawl of summer; I miss the beauty of those last warm days in October, when the warmth feels like a gift because you know what’s coming.
And aside from that maudlin stuff, you know what else I miss? Boots. I loves me some boots and although some women wear boots in the winter months here, I just cannot bring myself to put on a pair of motorcycle boots when it’s 90F outside.
There’s a double nostalgia whammy in October and November–Halloween and Thanksgiving, neither of which, as you might imagine, are very big in the UAE. I’ve never been one of those people who does the full Halloween costume and decorations thing, but I like the occasional witches hat and pumpkin carving and I have a serious candy corn addiction, which is really hard to feed here (I guess that’s not entirely a bad thing, at least according to my dentist. And my hips). There are isolated tricksy-treatsy spots around town, mostly in the expat neighborhoods where lots of Americans live; and some of the shops have Halloween decorations, but mostly Halloween comes and goes with just a blip.
We bought Caleb’s costume this summer when we were in New York, where the Halloween shops are always open; Liam didn’t want to get a costume because at almost thirteen, he’s decided (sort of) that he’s just too cool for such things.
I guess because I’m missing “home” so much these days, I took a great deal of pleasure in how excited Caleb was about his costume, even though I hate store-bought costumes and am not a big “Star Wars” fan (practically heresy in my household). He is not Boba Fett, although I kept calling him that. He is dressed as Pre Vizsla, an entirely different Mandalorian fighter. I mean duh, right? Keep it straight.
There is one way in which Abu Dhabi keeps pace with New York. The shops here also have seasonal marketing schizophrenia (SMS). SMS renders stores incapable of marketing only one holiday at a time.