February is not a well-loved month. Unless you wait all year for Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras, there isn’t much during this short month to cause excitement or enjoyment; it’s mostly snow, snot and sweaters. Around this time of year, you may find yourself asking certain existential questions. Questions that have no answers. Questions that will haunt you until the cold, lonely hell of winter is over. Questions like these:
1. Why can’t we skip February?
Even if you don’t actively dislike February, odds are that you probably don’t really like it, either. It’s our shortest month, but it’s also one of the coldest, snowiest, flu-filled months and is noticeably short on major holidays. It’s basically just part of the long, miserable slog connecting January to April.
2. Why can’t we skip March while we’re at it?
March is similarly cold, wet and flu-filled, and it’s doubly insulted because it’s so close to April yet so far away. April holds the promise of warm breezes, melting snow, new leaves and green grass; March holds the promise of all your shoes being forever soaked with dirty slush.
3. How many colds am I going to get?
You’ve resigned yourself to getting colds no matter how careful you are. This is cold season; germs are on every surface. Unless you go about your day wearing a surgical mask and gloves, you’re going to get a cold.
4. How many boxes of tissues will I plow through?
You already know that your nose will be dripping steadily from December through approximately the middle of April; the only question is just exactly how many boxes of tissues will you need to make it through snot season? You may have to set aside an extra portion of February’s paychecks to finance your tissue stash.
5. Are there ever not six more weeks of winter?
Has Punxsutawney Phil ever not seen his shadow? Has winter ever just magically stopped at the beginning of February? These burning questions begin to haunt everyone somewhere around the time when the piles of snow in parking lots reach a height of 8-10 feet.
6. Do groundhogs even wake up during February?
Groundhogs (also known as woodchucks and whistle-pigs, according to Wikipedia) hibernate during the winter. They’re marmots that dig holes in the ground and hibernate; why would any of them wake up just to look at their shadow? Common sense dictates that they would in fact not do this.
7. Should I even wake up during February?
Following the logical train of thought from groundhog hibernation to the hibernation in which you wish you were currently participating, you’ll wonder if you should try following the groundhogs’ example and just not emerge from the cocoon of your bed until spring.
8. How many days will I have to drive through a blizzard this month?
When the snow seems like it will never end and no sooner do you dig out from one storm when another appears on the horizon, it’s difficult to stay optimistic. February is one of the worst months for struggling with your natural desire to stay inside and not put your life in danger versus your desire to go to work and make money.
9. Are there any holidays during this stupid month?
Groundhog Day, Presidents’ Day and Valentine’s Day are not traditionally holidays that require schools and offices to be closed. A few lucky people might get Presidents’ Day off, but no one is holding out hope that they’ll get two days off for Mardi Gras.
10. Why does this month feel so long when it’s supposed to be the shortest one?
It’s 28 days during most years and 29 during a leap year, yet February feels interminable. Only philosophers and physicists have a chance of understanding why.
11. How many people are going to try to one-up me on Valentine’s Day?
Whether you’re single or in a relationship, there’s always at least one person who feels the need to jam their Valentine’s Day gifts down other people’s throats and prove that they are the most loved/special/amazing person ever and that Valentine’s Day was invented solely for them.
12. Is that seriously Easter candy?
If you go into a grocery store during the month of February, you’ll probably see indecent amounts of chocolate rabbits, candy eggs and marshmallow Peeps even though Easter is still several months away. “Who would want a two-month-old bag of chocolate eggs?” you ask yourself as you throw a bag into your shopping cart, daring fellow shoppers to judge you and your choices.
13. Is that seriously a shamrock?
Stores like to get a jump on holidays by shoving themed products in your face several months ahead of time, as you’ve already seen with the early Easter candy. Now even St. Patrick’s Day isn’t spared from this phenomenon. Shiny shamrocks and green things will be everywhere until March 18, when they will be abruptly piled onto “Sale” shelves and sold at rock-bottom prices.
14. Why is exercising so hard?
February is one of the worst months in which to exercise; not only are you battling several months of holiday-induced sloth and eating, you’re also doing it while fighting your way through snowstorms, hail and sleet. Every time you step outside, you’re blasted in the face with fine ice particles, while your sneakers and pants get covered in snow and dirt that slowly melts, becoming dirty saltwater. Dressing for the gym involves layers upon layers of clothing that must be put back on after you have exercised and are covered in sweat, unless you prefer to lug a heavy gym bag with you and shower in public every day.
15. When can I put away all these sweaters?
You yearn for the day when the sun peeks out from behind the endless gray clouds and the thermometer finally rises above 20 degrees. You picture how it will feel to be freed of your bulky sweater prison — the wind and sun on your skin, the freedom of movement that comes from short sleeves and the realization that you no longer look 15 pounds heavier because you’re not buried inside sweaters. Someday, that day will come… but it won’t be a day in February.