Trust me, I’ve been there
COUPLES WHO REACH RETIREMENT having successfully navigated the challenging seas of a long marriage, or maybe having ditched the challenging one and found someone else, and having scored financial comfort thanks to long and rewarding careers, prove it thus: they spend half the year at home (I like to think “Suffolk”, but anywhere in England will do) and the other half in New Zealand, Australia or South Africa. Basically, anywhere with proper amenities, not too much blatant foreignness, and opposite weather.
It is a no-brainer. Why not live in eternal summer? Why not forget winter even exists, as you ease your joints into the long, warm bath that is your well-planned, high-status life? Why not? I have the answer, pal, which is that it doesn’t work.
I reckon you can get away with extending your summer with a cheeky Maltese break at the beginning of October, say. You can shorten your winter with April in Tenerife. You can enliven the season’s early dark with a week in a different, though equally cold, city – or snow sports, although I am against those in principle. But you cannot totally cheat the seasons – it is like eating sweeteners and other chemically fashioned diet products. The very act of trying to trick your metabolism and fool your taste buds simply angers these mysterious bodily functions. That’s why you always see fat people drinking Diet Coke. You cannot Pro Plus your way out of tiredness, you are just tired and a bit more weird. You cannot drink your way out of social awkwardness – you are just awkward and a bit more messy. The laws of the physical universe will not be broken, leastways not by you, you pipsqueak. You will try to break them, they will be momentarily surprised by your audacity and then they will reassert themselves with a vengeance. And one of the all-time physical-law greats, right up there in the top 10 of eternal truths, is this: sometimes it will be hot, but other times it will be cold.
“What could go wrong, though?” you’re wondering. Why can’t you do the hemispheric tango? It is all in the mind. Of course you will technically have summer after summer after summer, but the loss of the contrast will confuse your senses. Part of the joy of summer is the memory of all that it isn’t. It’s like 24-hour daylight in Greenland – your mind doesn’t experience it as wall-to-wall day, rather as a regular day followed by a wrong night, followed by another regular day. Ad infinitum. You start not to appreciate even the good bits, so preoccupied are you by your disturbed world order. Now that’s not exactly going to happen to you on a weekend break to Prague now, is it?