In an unsurprising display of immense unoriginality, I would like to announce that my favorite season is fall. Fall? Autumn? Which should I have said there? I realized yesterday that I've lived full-time in the states for exactly ten years—plus six part-time years before that—which means I probably shouldn't feel such a fraud saying "fall," and yet I do because it's not what I grew up saying. I mean, what if I'm turning into Madonna, except the opposite? Would somebody tell me if that was happening? Can we elect a committee right now to tap me on the shoulder and roll their eyes at me if I ever decide it's okay for me to say the word "y'all"? (Listen, I was born 15 miles from the Thames. It is never okay for me to say the word "y'all.")
(Slight aside, but here is a very good article about the Britishization of American English, which I hope you will find as fascinating as I did. Also, if you have Madonna's email address, you can pass it on to her.)
So anyway, my favorite season is fall (or autumn, if that makes you uncomfortable). It used to be summer, but then I got older and finished university and realized, first of all, that summer wasn't ever going to be the long, unencumbered swathe of freedom it used to be, and second of all, that there's a definite cut-off age for being able to wear a bikini top with a pair of shorts, and then right on cue fall stepped in and said "You know, I have butternut squash and jeans tucked into boots!" and so that was that.
Actually, now that I think about it, fall replaced summer as my favorite season the exact same year I moved to America full-time, and I don't think that's any coincidence. America is very, very good at fall. It's mostly because you have pumpkins, I think—not such a big thing in England—and definitely because you have pumpkin-flavored foodstuffs. My god, the number of pumpkin-flavored foodstuffs I've purchased recently. Pumpkin-flavored coffee creamer! Pumpkin-flavored cream cheese! I'm the person who buys right into that Starbucks hype and treats myself to a pumpkin-flavored latte the minute there's the merest hint of a chill in the air. I even got some enormous pumpkins a few days ago and insisted to Sean that we sit down at the kitchen table and carve them on Saturday night. You know, like wild and crazy people who really know how to live. That's how Lady Gaga spends her Saturday nights too, I'm sure.
I bet you any amount of money you can guess which one is Sean's and which is mine.
On Sunday, a group of friends invited us to go apple-picking, and this is where we really—pardon my French—grabbed fall by the balls and swung it around a little. Apple-picking! Doesn't that sound delightful? Doesn't that sounds autumnal? I mean, look at this orchard! It's like you went to your bookshelf and pulled down your dictionary and scrolled through the Os until you found October and there was this:
Well, apart from the fact that it was 80 degrees outside, of course. Minor detail.
Whoa, Sean, try to contain your enthusiasm about apple picking. It's getting embarrassing.
At the orchard, we picked apples until our arms hurt and then we went to look around the rest of the farm. The rest of the farm was mostly for children, which was fine because we had three children in our group, but the woman giving us the tour was suspicious of us all the same. You could see her doing the math in her head—hmm, three children, seven adults, now this doesn't make sense—and as we walked through the gates into the sheep pen, she narrowed her eyes and said "Wait, stop, who are the couples without children?" and four of us had to raise our hands and shuffle off to the side like kidless pariahs. What, like adults don't want to see the baby lambs too?
Collecting the freshly-laid eggs from the chickens, in particular, seemed to be a kids-only activity, but I'd already paid my three bucks to do it, so luckily my pal Zuri stepped in and helped me out of a jam.
"I think you'll find that I chose you a nice selection. A few speckled, a few non-speckled. I tried to mix it up."
I ate a couple of those eggs last night with a slice or two of toasted sourdough, and I have to admit that they were the best damn eggs I've ever had in my life. The apples, though? Well, apart from putting them in a bowl and taking artsy pictures of them while standing on a kitchen chair, I've got no idea what to do with those yet.