It's a beautiful sunny day in Doha, with a temperature of 26 degrees Celsius. I'm sitting outside in capris and sandals. It is November 29.
Rumour has it that Christmas is approaching, but I have barely any reason to suspect it. If it wasn't for the Seasonal section at Carrefour with its abundance of artificial Christmas trees and coloured balls, I'd swear that either someone with the store was a little too eager, or it was still August.
Forty-plus years on Canadian soil have conditioned me to have an almost Pavlovian response to the seasons and the weather associated with them. Let's review:
Early Spring: Snow begins to melt, and crocuses pop up. This is my cue to register the kids for soccer, buy bedding plants, and dig out the flip-flops. Those among us who are organized get their winter tires taken off.
Late Spring: Snow from the second big spring snowstorm begins to melt. This is my cue to plan make-up games for snowed-out soccer games, purchase more bedding plants to replace the dead ones, and throw the damn winter boots back in the closet for the third time. Some of us will finally get our winter tires off, claiming foresight instead of procrastination.
Summer: Sunny and warm most of the time, unless you've elected to stay in Calgary. This is my cue to make travel plans, BBQ every day and have as many Starbucks Frappuccinos as I can shamelessly consume. Late in the season, I'll get the kids to try on hockey equipment, and start purchasing school supplies.
Early Fall: Sunny and warm ALL of the time, now that you've used up all your vacation days and the kids are back in school. This is my cue to watch copious amounts of professional and minor hockey, buy some new sweaters, and turn on the furnace.
Late Fall: Snowy and cold enough to freeze the bananas off a brass monkey (it's a family blog, folks). This is my cue to make cards, bake 22 pounds of cookies for freezing, and start Christmas shopping.
According to the schedule, I should be knee-deep in fancy ribbon and coloured sugar right now. I should also have purchased 90 per cent of the presents. Instead, I'm a captive of my own inertia, following the steady sandal-wearing, Starbucks-drinking cues I've been following for years. After four months of living here in current conditions, I need to ease up on the school-supply purchases. Also, the kids are threatening to snap if I make them try on their shoulder pads one more time.
So, for those of you experiencing the familiarity of a true pre-Christmas clime, I say revel in it. Enjoy the feeling of snow melting at the top of your socks inside your boots after shovelling for the third time on a given day. Relax while you sit in your car for 15 minutes waiting for it to warm up before making your move into traffic. And then, make yourself a cup of hot chocolate, put on some Christmas music and take comfort in the fact that you have completed all of your holiday preparations. As for me, I'd better get on it. And I promise I will. Right after I get back from lunch on the patio.
*Blogger's note: As always, I welcome all comments, with the exception of those of an irate nature, particularly from frost-bitten Canadians.