austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

It's a s'winter s'wonderland, unusual and grand

And sometimes news gets me feeling all giddy. This one's from from Australia, renowned already as a place where odd people dress kangaroos in vests and eyeglasses so they look cute. I mean the kangaroos, although I'm sure there are cute Australians in vests and glasses. A fellow named Tim Entwisle, who I don't know specifically to wear a vest or glasses, claims to be chief of Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens. I don't have particular reasons to doubt his claim except the name ``Tim Entwisle'' feels so naggingly familiar I'm sure it must come from somewhere. If he's hopping around jobs I can't be positive he's really a chief gardeneer.

``Tim Entwisle'', if that is him, said Australia needs more seasons for its climate. That's a great idea. The traditional winter-spring-summer-fall cycle has been going outside the tropics since the last Ice Age, when it was winter-other winter-slightly less winter-more winter, and it's gotten old. The only interesting thing is whether to call it `fall' or `autumn', critically important to people paid by the letter, such as the Post Office. There's room for growth even without something like adding a stylish figure eight to the Earth's orbit around the Sun.

More exciting is Entwisle has only suggested ``sprummer'', fit between spring and summer, and ``sprinter'', for early spring, as new seasons. That's letting a great chance go to waste. First, it's just subdividing spring, and you can't keep chopping weeks out of spring to make new seasons forever. I think we can agree there's no point to making new seasons just once. We should have a scheme to add as many seasons as it turns out we ever need, and if we are going to the figure-eight orbits of the Sun (I missed this morning's news; please tell me if we are) we'll need some doozies of seasons.

Worse if ``sprummer'' and ``sprinter'' do catch on folks will want to expand them, and they'll bump up against each other. Spring will be squeezed out entirely and have to march off to sometime else, such as March (seasons are reversed in Australia due to the British electrical standard interacting with the southern hemisphere's magnetic field), and confusing everything. Plus sprummer and sprinter bumping against each other will require a new season to fit between those, and the only logical name will be ``sprunter'', which sounds like some convoluted attempt at a rugby pun I will never understand, as I'm not Australian and can provide the laboratory tests to prove it.

Which means there's a new market opportunity. If Australia's interested in new seasons think of the profit potential for supplying a whole continent. The trouble is figuring new seasons with unique weather points. For example, the lyrics of Simon and Garfunkel evoke ``a time to be born, a time to die'', but that wasn't Simon and Garfunkel. Research is continuing into who it was, but probably it was Peter, Paul, and Mary. And Neil Young. Furthermore, Australia's its own nation these days; you can't tell them that now is the time to die, not now they've passed the Statute of Westminster 1931. (That one cleared up most of the bugs of the earlier Statue of Westminster 1929, which suffered from embarrassing errors in its spell-checking.) They're liable to get all contrary given directions that way.

So the need is seasons that invite participation, the way summer offers vacations long enough kids love spring and regret it after leaving school, or the way in the United States fall offers the chance to stare at New Englanders, who stare back. Maybe we could have times when a tasty parfait is included with every dinner; or when elevator music is replaced with peppy ragtime tunes so people feel they should maybe dance on and off the elevator in jerky, black-and-white silent film footage; or where phones are answered with a deep, long, Frank Nelson-y ``Yyyyyyyyeeeeesssss?''. That should probably be the shortest season.

But even if Australia does open up bidding for this I don't think I'll offer any ideas. I really prefer a steady income and this is clearly seasonal work.

Trivia: A menu for a Marshall Field Tea Room circa 1910 featured nineteen pages of options for the diner. Source: Service and Style: How The American Department Store Fashioned the Middle Class, Jan Whitaker. (Please note this is ``A'' as in ``at least one'', not as in ``All''.)

Currently Reading: First Flight: The Wright Brothers And The Invention Of The Airplane, T A Heppenheimer.


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