In My Ohio

On Your Spring Allowances

Darren C. Demaree
Winter in Ohio can be a bit of soul-crushing experience, or at the very least a hunching of your own traditional, glorious madness. It’s too damn cold to do a lot of the things you would normally like to do, especially this past winter when we had so many record low temperatures, and that has left your normal weirdo-style a bit cramped. Well, with the chilly bubble wrap slowly being lifted from your most favorite of oddities, you, how will you unfurl yourself without getting arrested or shot at?

First, walk outside naked. This is easier said than done if you live in an apartment or in a house with close neighbors, but your whole body has been at rest and you need to wake up that whole deal. Stand there, sing a song, do some naked jumping jacks, run a loop around your house as if you lost a drinking game back in college. Do something that puts you on display for the world. People don’t need to see you, but the world surely does. Announce your spring presence with authority. This is a silly, slightly illegal thing to do, but winter has the ability to make everything a labor. Any person that runs around naked in public has everything else figured out, or at the very least has proven themselves willing to be willing to shrug off the interminable dross that weighs us down in our bunker mentality.

Second, eat something tremendous. Whatever it is that you love to eat, go find it, the best of it, and eat a lot of it. When it’s below zero almost all eating feels like a chore to ensure that you maintain the right fat levels in case the heat goes out. Spring eating is a celebration of renewal. Now, diet and exercise (running naked counts as two workouts) are supremely important, and you can let that discipline be your stasis the rest of the year, but just once a year you have to let your body go a bit. If only to retrieve it again, there must exist the freedom of the feast to truly live. Personally, I wait until the first good batch of strawberries, and I eat two big pieces of strawberry-rhubarb pie.

Third, embrace a friend that lives far away from the intensity of your revival. Everyone, even people in the South, shut down for a certain period of time. So, it’s up to you to revive a friend/a friendship with a letter, a call, an ornery text message, whatever, etc. Tell them how much they mean to you. Tell them you love them. Tell them you can’t wait until you get to see them again. Tell them to escape from their basement entertainment enclave and attempt to chase down the metaphorical pace rabbit of their life. Tell them to smoke the furry bastard.

Lastly, you must commune again with the people around you. Ohioans are a magnificent group of people to live amongst, and if they’re willing to put up with you, then spend some time with them. Talk to some strangers. There are good strangers, and besides you’re an adult and it’s okay for you to meet a bad stranger. As long as you don’t co-sign any bank documents or go in for a drug buy with a bad stranger they are mostly harmless. Get to the farmer’s market. Shake the hand of an actual farmer (urban or rural). Buy something local, even if it’s a beer, because beer is definitely something.

Winter can be a season of burden. Even if you like the cold it is a limiting thing. That cold is slowly leaving us and you will need to unwind a bit before you become normal again, before you’re fit to be in public on a normal basis again. Do whatever it is that makes you feel whole. Get naked. Get drunk. Eat great food. Touch the nerve endings of the world again, and be prepared to get touched back.