James Lileks
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Hey, November, you got a moment?

“I’m the longest month! I got lots of moments. Which one would you like?”

Well, the last one, so we can put you behind us. I mean a moment in the sense of having a little chat.

“What’s on your mind?”

A layer of ice. I had a curry for lunch last Monday and walked outside and the perspiration on my scalp froze solid in two seconds. What’s the deal with those temps last week?”

“OK, sure, it’s been cold, but c’mon, it’s winter — ”

It is not. Winter starts next month. This is like sitting in the dentist’s waiting room because you have a tooth to be filled and suddenly another tooth starts complaining. Dental-wise, you’re supposed to be the irritated gums of the season.

“If you’d floss more … ”

Don’t change the subject. Did January pay you off? Did it tire of taking all the grief for being cold as a brass bell at the bottom of a well on the dark side of the moon after the sun went dead? Don’t tell me you’re hanging around with January now. That month has nothing going for it. No holidays, nothing. It’s a bad influence.

“Oh, come on. February’s the short shifty one that tries to make you like it with all the chocolate and Cupids and stuff. January is misunderstood.”

You have been hanging out with January. Don’t you know it’s a nihilist? You have meaning, traditions, Currier-and-Ives Thanksgiving vibes. Over the river and through the woods and all that. You —

“Have you ever thought that maybe I’m tired of being the month that’s just about turkey? Did it ever occur to you that everyone thinks I’m nothing but empty trees and stupid snow showers and people getting irritated because Christmas songs are playing at the mall already, and then, whoa, stuffing and football. Then it’s all over and everyone’s happy to see December come in on its red sled and throw peppermint canes at all the kids? Did you ever think that I might like to be fun for the kids, too? Did you ever wonder why there aren’t any candy canes that taste like gravy or yams? Or that bean dish with the crunchy onions on top? Did you?”

November, what have you done?

“I bought my own polar vortex! I’ve got friends in Canada, you know. Real friends. And they made me a deal on a polar vortex so I could show you I can be just as cold as January. But I don’t, usually, because I’m not that kind of month, and you’re all used to me not asserting myself and just letting everyone walk through the month like I’m a hotel lobby and you just want to get to the elevator and get up to your room so you can open your presents. Well, I have feelings too.

“And next year when I don’t do this, then you’ll love me.”

I didn’t know you felt that way.

“Yeah, well, no one ever seems to care how I feel. Anyone out there singing about dreaming of a white Thanksgiving? Didn’t think so. Maybe now you’ll have some respect.”

We’d love you more if you were warmer.

“That’s what January said you’d say. January understands me. You never did.”

This is what it means when the weatherperson says “November’s been unseasonably cold.”

james.lileks@startribune.com 612-673-7858 • Twitter: @Lileks