Some things I’ve learned this term

Spring term is always vaguely weird. The weather’s great, but there’s lots to do, and generally people are either playing catch-up on stuff they should have done two terms ago, or suddenly discovered they had to do about five minutes ago.

Everyone’s rushing to get whatever it is done before the end of the term, and no one seems to be able to handle anything extra. It’s the nature of the season, and it’s inevitable. But it seems we end the term drained of energy and either facing resounding victory or stunning defeat. I’m not sure yet how the term will end for me, but so far, here’s what I’ve learned about it:

1. Every electronic object in the city will fail at exactly the same moment. As you rush from computer lab to computer lab trying to print five lousy pages, each printer in each lab will signal the next, perhaps telepathically, that it is time to take a little siesta for at least five or six hours.

2. Everything will cost more than you thought. You will suddenly discover your food costs skyrocketing, even though it’s the local growing season. A bunch of radishes for a $1.50, anyone? That was the going price recently at a local market.

3. Everything you put away last fall to wear this summer will fit oddly. Many of us go through body changes in the winter, generally in the lardo direction, but some of us actually find we’ve somehow grown taller or shorter long after puberty.

4. No matter what you do, you’ll be in the wrong gear for the weather. Some of us tote umbrellas out of long association with the changeable Oregon weather, but the day you put said bumbershoot aside because it hasn’t rained for three weeks is the day you’ll have to cover your head with your backpack to avoid the sudden onset of the monsoons.

5. Coffee will lose its zip, but it’s too cold to drink anything on ice. I know, I said I was trying to give up coffee recently in this column, but that’s like saying I’ll finally get all that moss off my north side this year. Oregon and coffee were made for each other, but you never know if you’re going to have to drink it or just pour it over yourself to get warm.

6. Strange people will come out of their caves and visit you. I recently was contacted by a long-lost friend who had made good her threat to escape to the Southern hemisphere on retirement. She came back for a visit recently, and we got together for lunch. She put away four Margaritas in an hour and a half and told me she expected me to let her crash at my place and supply her with a sufficient supply of tequila and independently wealthy men. Since I haven’t collected much in the way of either for myself, I politely declined, and she swept away, stiffing me with the check.

This sort of thing would never happen, say, around Thanksgiving.

The good news is that summer is on its way, with its completely different set of issues, and we can all look forward to lower radish prices and a perhaps fewer freeloading friends. In the meantime, I’m on the prowl for the only non-telepathic computer printer in Portland.