Spring is coming. Garden centers everywhere are kicking up mulch in their excitement for the shoppers' impending return to their stores — I never hear the end of it in the office. It's charming, actually.And a sixty-degree day a couple of weeks ago let me know Chicago would not forever be buried under this snowy misery, but it's easy to forget again when a late-February blizzard ruins all my plans of wearing flats with no socks. (With the exception of the skirts and dresses I joyously free from the depths of my closet, my wardrobe doesn't change when warmer weather hits; mostly I just lose the coat and wear big-girl shoes instead of boots that make me look like a fat Eskimo.) Side note: I really wanted to describe Chicago as a tundra, but being the diligent editor that I am, I had to look it up, and that plan was foiled just as my plans to look cute were. Apparently, Chicago could not even be loosely identified — even considering my love for hyperbole — as a tundra, scientifically speaking. That would mean, according to Wikipedia, that our landscape is treeless and prone to mossy, lichenous groundcover instead. And that musk ox and chinchillas roam free on Lincoln Ave. Simply not true. I'm not sure what biomic classification Chicago would fall under, but this weather right now is awful, and instead of moss and lichen, we have canine fecal matter and mud buried under four inches of snow. (And I promised myself I wouldn't be the kind of resident who complains about that. Because if I had a dog, I'd probably break the law and walk on by after my dog had done its business, too.)
Right now, my only real promise of spring is all the the promotional e-mails I've been receiving from my favorite stores. Almost every morning, I get "SALE! SALE!" and "LOOK AT THIS GREAT OUTFIT THAT YOU SIMPLY. MUST. HAVE." messages from Banana Republic, Zappo's, Piperlime, Ann Taylor Loft For the most part, they just tease me with photos of models wearing flats with no socks — which were obviously taken in warm studios where this behavior was OK. Those models probably wore their UGGs and very-very-skinny jeans to the shoot and left feeling just as depressed that they had to take off their warmer-weather clothes as I was after looking at them in those sale e-mails. And yet, I buy. I look at the shiny, tan legs of models and their precious spring outfits and think of myself, 10 pounds lighter, traipsing around the City of Light, a vision of printemps. Sipping Cotes du Rhone in a café, the backs of my pastel skimmers flapping off my heels and the skirt of my navy blue sailor-striped dress rippling in the Parisian breeze as I make people-watching notes in my leatherbound journal. And wrapping that airy, grass-green scarf around my neck one morning and strolling along the Seine, basking in the sun and my transatlantic solitude.
It's such a travesty to sink hundreds of dollars into new clothes that I won't be able to wear for another couple of months, but reverie like this, that transports me as I'm sitting in this fluorescent hole at a laptop that burns under my wrists, makes me want to spend, spend, spend. I guess that's how long-suffering retailers are still making it — selling products just as much as they are dreams of warmer, happier times to come. Let's get out of this country.