The Cure for Cabin Fever

Cabin fever. I think I have a bad case of it. Here’s what Wikipedia says about cabin fever:

Cabin fever is an idiomatic term for a claustrophobic reaction that takes place when a person or group is isolated and/or shut in, in a small space, with nothing to do, for an extended period (as in a simple country vacation cottage during a long rain or snow). Symptoms include restlessness, irritability, irrational frustration with everyday objects, forgetfulness, laughter, excessive sleeping, distrust of anyone they are with, and an urge to go outside even in the rain, snow or dark.

Especially noteworthy are the words, “restlessness, irritability, irrational frustration with everyday objects and forgetfulness.” Yep, I’ve got it and I’ve got it bad. Just ask my co-workers. I don’t think I was much fun to be around this week. Maybe I’ll be better next week or the week after. Then again, things might not change until late April. Enough with winter already! It’s only February 5th. My husband, the optimist, says cheerfully that we are two-thirds of the way through the season. Bah, humbug.

When I was in elementary school, winter was fun. There was sledding and ice skating. We used to go to Carter Park on the corner of Carter and Norton Streets to skate. Those were the good old days. You would fumble on the benches trying to get your skates laced tightly enough so that your knees and ankles didn’t cave in toward each other. If you were really cool, you had knit tassles on your laces. The more colorful the better. It wasn’t as important to be dressed warmly as it was to be fashionable. After ten or fifteen minutes of preparation, you were ready for the ice. A few laps around and maybe a boy might ask to skate with you. Maybe not. Mostly not. Bummer. Of course, I always went ice skating with my girlfriends. It seemed the same ten or fifteen boys would skate with just one or two of the girls and they usually weren’t part of my posse. The girls we didn’t like. You know the type. The really pretty ones. As I got closer to 8th grade, there were a handful of times when a boy skated around the rink with me. Well, sort of, I guess. We just skated side by side. I don’t recall hand holding. I’d like to think there was hand holding, but I’m pretty sure there wasn’t. Once back in the cabin, it was important to find some hot cocoa to drink. Then, a bunch of us would tie the laces of our skates together, hang them over our shoulders (one skate in front and one skate in back) and begin the long walk home.

Sledding could be done almost anywhere there was the slightest incline. You didn’t necessarily need a big hill and, in this town, it was pretty tough to find one. When you got lucky, your parents might take you to Durand Eastman Park or Ellison Park to test out your flexible flyer. Durand had the best hills. One was called “suicide hill.” Of course, I wouldn’t even consider it. I think my brother and some of my cousins may have tried it. No thanks. Plenty of other good hills from which to choose. There was a lot more sledding and skating in those days. Kids were outside all the time. Winter was a festival of snowball fights, making snowmen and skating and sledding. We walked to and from school. I can remember getting smashed with snowballs many times. It was just too easy for the boys to fling snowballs at us. We were helpless. If our brothers hit us with a snowball we got angry and cried. If a boy we liked hit us with a snowball, we were thrilled. Go figure.

Winter isn’t fun for me anymore. It’s just a nuisance to drive in. I don’t skate or sled anymore. When our children were small we took them to Genesee Valley rink to skate and we went sledding in Durand Eastman Park. We used to have a lot of fun with them. But that was a long time ago. My oldest is 36 and my baby is 30. Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow which means an early spring, but based on tonight’s weather, I’m not counting on it. I have to do something to fight this cabin fever. In two weeks my grandchildren will be on winter break. Every year Grandpa plans a sledding day. This year will be no exception. Except this year, I plan to take the day off and go sledding with them. We’ll make sure we have plenty of hot cocoa on hand for when we get home.

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One Response to The Cure for Cabin Fever

  1. You sparked quite a few memories, Ro. I remember Durand and Ellison Park! My dad took my sister and I to Durand during the summers to swim. Do they still skate at Cobb’s Hill? That’s were I skated and consumed gallons of hot chocolate with all my friends. That seems like ancient history now. Thanks for the memories.

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