The frustrating dualism of spring

Augustine Marinelli

Why is it that the most beautiful of things can conceal ugliness? For example, I find that the most beautiful of women are often the cruelest and that it takes the loveliest of spring days to render me ill. This fact leaves me dreading spring each year, but this year, I thought things were going to be different. They had to be. This cannot happen every year, can it? I arose last Friday to balmy temperatures, bright sunshine and a pleasant breeze. Going light on my allergy drugs, I set off for Center City with cautious optimism.

Sure enough, the day did not disappoint. I ate a well-made lunch and strolled to Rittenhouse Square while enjoying myself immensely. I sat in the park, drank water and listened to the pleasant sounds of laughing children while I read my book. Even the self-destructive protagonist in my Graham Greene novel was unable to damper the strange feelings of enthusiasm churning within me. Despite my pleasant contentment, I had to leave. Riding the train back to Villanova, I thought, “It was a really nice day.”

Of course, the day wasn’t over yet. I tried to do some important paperwork, but found I could not: the outdoors tempted me once more. So I went for another walk. Unfortunately, I was hurled back to earth. The breeze brought with it the stench of chemically-treated mulch. My nose was filled with the odor of a horse stable on a diet of cabbage and deviled eggs. Even though my nasal passages snapped shut, that wonderful smell managed to cut through. While I was choking on that, I saw enough pastel colors contrasted with synthetic orange tans to make me want to spaz out.

The sounds of bad music filtered over from the Quad while I saw sunbathers beached in the grass like scantily-clad cadavers; keep in mind this is the same grass where men with protective rubber suits sprayed volatile chemicals the day before. This gave the campus a look not unlike that section of Fairmount Park where they dump murder victims. After this assault upon the senses, I gave up and went inside. The pleasant weather seemed to laugh at me, rubbing salt in my wounds as I staggered back to my room. As I washed my face and shot nasal spray up my nose, I realized that I had been defeated.

That day, I remembered why I dread springtime: allergies, mulch and pastels are enough to keep any weak man like myself inside. Spring, like a boxer, kept me watching her left jab while leveling me with a devastating right hook. I’m staying on the canvas.

I won’t be fooled again; I can’t take spring. Nature always wins. I will not venture forth without enough drugs coursing through my system to kill that deviled-egg-eating horse that they got the mulch from. Spring is the most Manichean of all seasons: its beauty and nastiness exist side by side; they even feed off of each other. The unpleasantness is made more so by its contrast with the loveliness and … well … forget it. I’ve got to go refill my prescription.