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like the weather
(if natalie merchant can sing about it...)
by michelle von euw
pop culture

The Gap is the cruelest company.

The pop-culture clothing store is currently airing a series of new television commercials, featuring lanky young women rejoicing the return of spring. They pay tribute to the sun gods, their tank-top clad torsos swirling around in ecstasy and abandon. The Gap executives or the media buyers probably assumed that those of us still shoveling snow off our front walks would see these waifs as a sign that spring would soon be here. Obviously, the executives live somewhere like Southern California, where the sun shines a significant portion of the year, or at the very least, in April.

April in the Northeast is not scantily clad girls in need of a sandwich. April is the wind-chill factor. Freak snowstorms. Forty-degree days referred to as "warm." March is said to be the month that comes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb. Not true here in Boston. March came in like a lion, and left like his larger, cranky, bitter cousin who swallowed that defenseless lamb on his way out the door. Despite what the calendar tells us, spring has certainly not yet arrived, and TV spots proclaiming otherwise just encourage anger and frustration. A shoe thrown at the television, even. Certainly not a shopping spree on boot cut Capri pants or pastel tees.

I hate the Gap. I vow never to buy another pair of reverse fit jeans or pick slightly-stained sweaters off their discount racks in the back of their store again. I will scowl at their greeters. I will never don a vest. Nevermind that a large percentage of my wardrobe was once folded into one of those blue plastic drawstring bags. From now on, I am issuing a boycott, and urging all the sweater-clad, red-nosed, pasty-skinned Northeasterners to join along with me.

I usually don't get this riled up about non-sports related television. I'm putting full blame for my anger on the weather. This winter has erased my sunny cheer and replaced it with a grumpy, hateful scowl. I hear the words Global Warming and I start to drool. Despite my fairly strong liberal leanings, President Bush is my new idol for refusing to sign the Kyoto Treaty. Do aerosol spray cans still poke holes in the ozone layer? Aqua Net, here I come.

The cold months here are just too damn long. Remember November? I barely do. But if I think hard enough, I can recall watching the first white flakes of snow falling gently to the earth. Neighborhood children playing in the street, catching the round frozen drops on their tongues. Hot cocoa, warm fires, thick sweaters that smell of mothballs.

Six months later, it isn't such a pretty scene. The remaining snow is black, not white, and littered with gum, cigarette butts, and other debris. It's stacked in thick dirty piles by the side of the road, refusing to give in to the strong rains that have also pelted the region. A thick layer of grime permeates cars, houses, and the once-spotless jackets of the neighborhood children, who instead of skipping with glee, trudge on by, their heads hung low.

The local weatherman has stopped airing inaccurate forecasts, and has resorted to taunting us with scenes from 1998, when Boston was 89 degrees on March 29th. "That's a full 50 degrees higher than it is today," he peals, as I mentally add his name under the Gap's on my list. I don't need reminders that it used to be warm around here.

I don't recall what a bright blue sky looks like. My ankles are so pale, I can't tell if I'm wearing socks. I can't imagine why more crimes don't occur around here; if I'm angry enough to protest the only store that makes jeans that fit me over a stupid television commercial, imagine how people who are even more unbalanced than me are reacting.

The baseball season started April 1. There's absolutely nothing more depressing than watching the Red Sox lose while your skin turns Dodger-blue and your butt freezes to the metal Fenway Park seat. It's my personal opinion that the sport should be banned from the northern part of the country until June. Teams can return to Boston and Minnesota and Detroit in August, and avoid the sweltering hot Florida and Texas during those months.

Sweltering. Hot. If only I could remember what those words felt like.

I guess my only solution is to move to Raleigh…and open a radio station. As long as the weather is warm, I promise I'll play good music.


Originally from Boston, Michelle is a writer, editor, instructor, obsessive sports fan, loud talker, quick laugher, new mom, and chances are, she watches more television than you do. Follow her on Twitter at michellevoneuw

more about michelle von euw


christmas in boston
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by michelle von euw
topic: pop culture
published: 12.10.08

resolving to do some stuff
instead of giving up, giving out
by michelle von euw
topic: pop culture
published: 1.6.06


wendy scroggins
4.5.01 @ 7:38a

The weather forecast for Raleigh this weekend is 70 - 80 degrees and sunny. We'd love to have you join the rest of us Northeasterners who've traded in our grungy winter coats and scarves for a pair of Ray Bans and Spring that actually arrives when the calendar says it does. Besides, Roger has always said we could use a good radio station.

adam kraemer
4.5.01 @ 9:38a

I remember that March day in Boston. My friends and I spent that Saturday afternoon drinking beers on my porch and then I shaved off my beard. It was like a Wonder Years episode.

joe procopio
4.5.01 @ 10:09a

Wendy, what the heck are you doing? North Carolina isn't all that warm plus it's full of hillbillies. All you northerners would hate it so stay there. Except Michelle, who had already made plans to move here.

adam kraemer
4.5.01 @ 10:52a

I grew up in Philadelphia. Philly's a southern city, right?

wendy scroggins
4.5.01 @ 11:16a

I guess I just felt bad for her being stuck in a place that is so gray and depressing when I'm here enjoying the sunshine. But you're right.. NC is full of hillbillies, rednecks, confederate flags, bumper stickers touting American made products.. heck, they even have "pig pickins" here. (Very scary stuff.. run away!)

lee anne ramsey
4.5.01 @ 1:28p

You'll be happy to know that here in San Francisco (where, btw, Gap Headquarters is located) it was 80 degrees and downright balmy last weekend.

jael mchenry
4.5.01 @ 3:08p

The Gap commercials do not convince me to purchase "the modern boot cut jean," nor to cavort merrily in sun-worship (evil meteorologists claim it's 60 in DC; they lie) but the Old Navy commercials are dangerously close to indoctrinating me re: boot cut capris.

I gotta get this look... gotta get this look... this tank cost less than my lipstick... gotta get the look... little flare below the knee... arhrarar...

jeremy roach
4.5.01 @ 3:41p

The Gap sucks. Fenway is a dump (worst place to see a game). The Gap in Kenmore square is horrible, and so are the liquor stores. But the Boston fans are great (and delusional all at the same time). No where else do you get as belligerent as fans, who seriously believe they have a shot year in year out. Ahh to be ignorant and have an annoying accent...

adam kraemer
4.5.01 @ 4:05p

Actually, I think you just described Philadelphia Flyers fans as well.

The Uno's in Kenmore is nice. And I like Jake Ivory's.

michelle von euw
4.5.01 @ 4:13p

Ohh, oohh, ohh, and the Chicago baseball fans, too. Bad accents = no hope of winning.

Hm, now why doesn't that combination work in NY?

jael mchenry
4.5.01 @ 5:51p

Always amuses me how most Intrepidites seem to hail from one of three places: Raleigh, Boston, or Syracuse. With a small outpost in NYC of course. And there's Lee Anne (but she used to be in Boston, as did I, and Adam too.) And of course that important Australian contingent, aka Jack (who used to be in Raleigh...)

Personally I never particularly cared for Jake Ivory's, but the newish cinema (General Cinemas??) which is somewhere near Fenway is a beaut.

adam kraemer
4.5.01 @ 5:56p

Michelle - it does if you're a Mets fan.

jeremy roach
4.5.01 @ 8:39p

New York can win because they spend the money and actually have a decent stadium. And they've won before. Oh, and they dont have a curse either. I miss the ratskeller

jeremy roach
4.5.01 @ 9:08p

One more thing, havent seen new movie theater since I moved away in 99, but Boston has THE WORST MOVIE THEATERS IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY.

tracey kelley
4.5.01 @ 11:39p

Speaking up as the 'girl from nowhere' (but having lived in the S-ow-th, including Raleigh), let me just say you don't know what winter is until you've spent it in Iowa.

Over 100 consecutive days with snow on the ground.

Extended chill down your spine when the roofer says "ice dam damage. Too bad. That'll be 6K, please."

And your idea of spring break is leaving Iowa and going to Missouri in December.

Good day, eh, and welcome to April. At least it's better than March.

wendy scroggins
4.6.01 @ 8:39a

Tracey.. that's really no different than living in Western NY. It's pretty bad when you hear the local meteorologist mention lake effect snow and you wonder which lake it's coming off of. One winter two different storms came across Ontario and Erie.. that's the morning I found out my Ford Escort could make it through 2 foot drifts! Lets just say I won't be moving "up north" anytime soon.

jael mchenry
4.6.01 @ 8:46a

Tracey -- I spent 16 winters in Iowa (and every Christmas for the 10 or so since) and you are sooooo right. Unrelenting ice, bone-chilling (or at least skin-chilling) temps of -30 before wind chill... at least in Boston the winters were, I dunno, varied.

adam kraemer
4.6.01 @ 9:29a

Yeah, my dad went to Syracuse in the late 60s and he said he, too, remembers -30 below temperatures(and this was before the weather services even took wind chill into account) and 30-foot snow drifts.

jeremy roach
4.6.01 @ 11:08a

My advice to all of you. Move.

michelle von euw
4.6.01 @ 2:38p

Adam, '86 is too strong of a memory for me to lump the Mets into the "no hope" pile. Besides, they made it to the World Series last year, which is better than, what, all but 5 teams during the last decade?

Jeremy, I've always enjoyed watching baseball more in Fenway than in Camden. But maybe I've just had better seats in Boston.

michelle von euw
4.6.01 @ 2:40p

I used to hate the movie theatres here, too, but I've since developed a soft spot for the Harvard Square, Kendall Square, Waltham, BU, and West Newton theatres. And I can't stop raving about the gorgeous Fenway plex, which is showing Memento tonight. Woo hoo!

mike julianelle
4.6.01 @ 3:13p

The Fenway RULES. And on the indie side, Kendall Square is great, and West Newton plays all indies in a nice, old-fashioned theater. The Fenway has vastly improved the movie going experience in Boston. And Fenway is NOT a dump. Old yes. Small yes. But it's a great place to see a game while I am excited about a new park, it will hurt to be without the original.

mike julianelle
4.6.01 @ 3:14p

Maybe I should clarify. THE Fenway is a movie theater. Fenway, without the article, is a baseball park. Thank you. Good day.

jeffrey walker
4.7.01 @ 2:03p

I went home for Spring break in Raleigh, and was pissed to have tee shirts on for a week, and then return to Syracuse for three more snowstorms.

Not to mention, as long as you stay in and around the Raleigh area, you can avoid all the hillbillies. Plus, they have movie theaters in Raleigh that serve beer... in pint glasses!

jeffrey walker
4.7.01 @ 5:06p

I went home for Spring break in Raleigh, and was pissed to have tee shirts on for a week, and then return to Syracuse for three more snowstorms.

Not to mention, as long as you stay in and around the Raleigh area, you can avoid all the hillbillies. Plus, they have movie theaters in Raleigh that serve beer... in pint glasses!

adam kraemer
4.9.01 @ 8:11a

Michael, yes I'm a smartass, but technically with the article, The Fenway is also that swampy area between the baseball park and the Back Bay. 'Course I haven't been there in a while; they might have turned that into a movie theater.

lee anne ramsey
4.9.01 @ 12:19p

Not only did I used to live in Boston, but I spent the first 18 years of my life (give or take a few months) in Rochester, NY. A mere hour away from Syracuse....

I remember a theater that didn't suck in Boston... it showed indie movies but on really big screens....

mike julianelle
4.9.01 @ 1:56p

Lee Anne - that sounds like maybe the Coolidge Corner theater. It's an old style theater, built in the 20's, with one REALLY big room and a huge screen. None of the amenities of the modern places (i.e. stadium seating or comfy chairs) but they play great indies. It's a cool place to see a movie...

adam kraemer
4.9.01 @ 3:38p

I always liked seeing the second-run films at the Somerville Theater in Davis.

ashley mortenson
4.10.01 @ 12:10p

I lived in Boston (well, Somerville) for 3 years...until I couldn't take the crappy winters anymore. It was exactly the way you described it.

So I moved back South, where the weather is more accomodating. Granted, there are some tradeoffs, but staying warm in the winter doesn't involve 5 layers of clothing.

But I always wish I was back up there when NC turns into a giant steam room around July and August.

adam kraemer
4.10.01 @ 12:28p

The trick is to do what my grandmother does - she lives on one of the Florida Keys in the Gulf during the winter and then moves to the Jersey shore in the summer. Best of both climates.

michelle von euw
4.10.01 @ 11:06p

Adam, your grandmother is my idol. I'm trying to figure out what careers we can have that will allow us to spend football season in Washington, baseball season in Boston, and ACC regular season in Raleigh (with a month in Key West). Any suggestions out there?

jack bradley
4.11.01 @ 3:06a

Sportscaster? (you could cover the Conch Republic Grand National Squid Wrestling competition in Key West...it's in May).

adam kraemer
4.11.01 @ 9:01a

We can be pre-war correspondents, heading to those places just in case hostilities escalate.

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