February is such a depressing time of year. Or at least that’s what the world would have me believe: you’d think, from the papers at the moment, that we should all be near-suicidal with despair.
Apparently it’s the month in which New Year’s resolutions are abandoned, especially those involving new health regimes, and this leaves people feeling despondent. Well, that doesn’t apply to me, as I failed to make any. Not because I don’t think I need to improve as a person; more because I accepted long ago that I simply haven’t the will to do it. So, while I have the utmost respect (awe, even) for the person who can bring themselves to go to the gym first thing in the morning (and such people really do exist), and despite the encouragement of various individuals who want me to go running with them, I’ll just stick with being unfit, thanks very much. (I’d be a terrible running partner, anyway – I would fake an asthma attack the moment I got out of breath).
February’s also heartbreaking because, of course, there’s the whole Valentine’s issue to contend with: isn’t it unbearable, the worst thing in the world, to be on your own? Um… well, no, contrary to popular belief, it’s not, actually. I mean, while it’s obviously true that a mass-produced card and box of chocolates/bunch of flowers is the very definition of romance (flowers die after a few days – that’s all I’m saying on the subject), it’s perfectly possible to get through the day without weeping at your general lovelessness. No, really. But then, I hear you say, there’s the weather: what with the cold and the days still getting dark early, people are prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder. Again, this doesn’t affect me. It may have been cold recently, but it’s also been quite sunny. Anyway, I hate summer. There are the inevitable associations it still carries with sports day at school (one of the great and unalloyed pleasures of my life is that I never, ever have to take part in any organised sport again) and the fact that, for as long as I can remember, summer has meant hay fever, having to wear a hat so my head doesn’t burn and being hideously depressed once Wimbledon is over for another year (two weeks just isn’t long enough).
So, all things considered, February is pretty great, actually. There’s obviously the occasional niggle – in the supermarket the other day, I was confronted by a massive display of Easter eggs. “Who’s going to buy one two months before the actual event?” I asked in mystification. “Oh, they’ve been there for weeks,” replied my friend cheerfully, “since they cleared all the Christmas stuff away”. Personally, I find that terribly depressing: why is it that as soon as one celebration ends, the build-up to another has to begin? But I’m getting off my point: as a time of year, February is largely underrated, and gets bad press.
Of course, I’m only saying this because the month’s going quite well for me thus far; and that is mainly due to the continued good health of my housemates. Last winter, you must understand, they were all ill at some point and, as I remember it, one of them in particular had three separate (and very severe) colds, while another was just continuously unwell. It was awful. Not for me, for them. You see, I don’t get ill; I have an immune system of steel. I like to think it’s because my parents were not too bothered about sell-by-dates on food when I was young. (They still aren’t. I don’t look in the back of the fridge at home any more, because I don’t want to find any more chutney from 1989 and hear my mother tell me it’s fine to eat.) As a result, I toughened up a bit, and now sickness doesn’t have a chance with me. Or at least, the common cold certainly doesn’t.
What I’ve come to realise, though, is that this rude good health is not a useful attribute to have as somebody’s housemate. I mean, I’m not exactly empathic at the best of times (the best I can offer is tea – I have great faith in its multiple restorative powers), and, when a person is ill, I haven’t a clue how they’re feeling, much less how to help. Fortunately, though, this hasn’t been an issue this year. In fact, I am feeling so positive (positive being a relative term), that I’m championing February as my new favourite month.