TAYLOR: Rites of spring

Tell it Slant

If you’re in JE, the tulips are blooming; if you’re in a poorer college, I’m sure they have flowers, too. Cross Campus — once a barren wasteland — has transformed into a coral reef of bare legs and biceps. Old Campus is basically an outdoor Toad’s, and while I could do without all the freshman PDA, I have to admit the whole thing makes for a very pretty picture.

Michelle Taylor

Spring has sprung. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and you think you’re in the clear. You’ve made it! You’ve made it through fall; you’ve made it through winter; you’ve made it through the first paragraph of my column. You’ve survived flu season, snow season and whatever that day was when literally even the atmosphere was slushy. Give yourself a hearty pat on the back — you deserve it.

But don’t open your hatches just yet. Spring may seem innocuous, but dear reader, be warned: We are now entering the most perilous season of all. Like a villainous Spenserian harlot, spring will charm you out of your pants and leave you lost in the deep, dark woods of despair — by which I mean, on Cross Campus, adrift in a sea of bare legs.

Spring fever is catching, and you can’t Purell your way out of this one. You can’t even tell you’re sick: The symptoms are objectionable only in hindsight. Like your first college relationship, spring is, ultimately, a distraction that’s just not worth it — it all seems like harmless fun in the sun, but in the end, you’re going to get burned.

The first sign of spring fever is an almost inexplicable sense of elation. This is mostly because of your latent vitamin D deficiency: With levels lower than the federal coffers, it’s no wonder you felt terrible all winter. The first time you encounter real sunshine, it’s going to be a revelation  (I, for example almost cried with euphoria) that will soon flower into an obsession. It doesn’t matter if the air is a little brisk: The layers are coming off. Now is the time for shorts and sundresses, tanks and T-shirts, and those weird kids with the hookah in Branford.

(Also, if you’re as pale as me, aloe vera. Because sunscreen smells like moms, and that’s way too Freudian to be a turn-on.)

This sun exposure triggers the second symptom of spring fever: amnesia. When your parched, pasty skin toasts in the sun’s affectionate rays, your brain toasts with it. It’s called being sun-drunk, and it’s a real problem. You start to forget things: your Tuesday schedule, the concept of moderation, that you should hydrate after you drink. Suddenly, it’s time for section, and all you have to show for your day are pink shoulders and an intimate knowledge of the first two pages of Anna Karenina.

Third, the air of spring is different, lambent: It makes things — and people — glow as if they’ve been very subtly and tastefully Instagrammed. Saturated in the opiate air, everyone and everything becomes irresistible: that dumb kid in your section, that party at AEPi, even a lukewarm Natty Lite. What in the harsh light of winter seemed pathetic and disgusting is now deliriously appetizing. The thirst is real, and Yale Facilities just reopened the Springs Eternal.

How, then, are we to gather ye rosebuds and still graduate in a timely manner? How to soak up the sun and still slump through that gut science? How to sit outside of the shade, and still see your computer screen well enough to dash off a five pager?

Is there hope? Or are we already midway down the exhilarating Slip ‘ N Slide to academic failure?

Children, I’m going to be frank: I don’t know. I don’t know how I made it through the last three springs. I don’t know if I’ll make it through this one.  I remember a lot of late sunrises, if that helps, and cold morning walks back from the library. I’ve started running regularly again, although that may be related to symptom number three than anything else. Maybe there’s a way to take the buzz and verve in the air and work it towards Milton. I don’t know. But if you need me, I’ll be pinking in the Davenport courtyard — with an unread book over my face.

Michelle Taylor is a senior in Davenport College. Contact her at michelle.a.taylor@yale.edu .

Comments