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July 11, 2011 / Sheila Dougherty

The hypochondriac’s diagnosis

I have wanted to live in New York City for as long as I can remember. When my family or school came here on trips — which was pretty often — I’d get chills on the wait to get through the tunnel, looking at the skyline. Everything was larger than life: the buildings, the food, the billboards. People were always in a hurry, off to something important, I imagined. It was another world — so different, and, to my adolescent mind, WAY more exciting than anything going on in tiny Delaware, where I grew up.

Well, I’ve been living in New York for 16 years, and I still love it. But, really, New York: You suck at summer.

You see, everything is still larger than life — the smells, the crowds, the bugs, the rats, the bad attitudes. And I’m willing to put up with for the other nine months of year, with minimal complaint. But the summer heat and humidity makes all that total misery.

The rest of the city doesn’t seem to mind — everyone’s out and about on the weekends. But all I’m inspired to do is watch Lifetime movies or Project Runway marathons in the A/C. And it’s getting worse every year. What’s the point in going out if I’m only going to be drenched in perspiration in five minutes, assaulted by what-the-fuck-IS-that? and forced to stand under the armpit of someone in the subway for whom everyday showers — and deodorant — are optional?

Last night, while watching “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” I actually started longing for fall (what they’re showing of the show is fall/winter, 2010). And when that show kindles any sort of desire, something’s wrong.

But fall and winter in New York are so much better. I like it when it gets dark earlier here. A long walk is a pleasure, not a death march. And the clothes are better.

I’m pretty sure I have reverse seasonal affective disorder.

Or, I am just fucking old.


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