Cabin fever is in the air

Miriam Nelson

We live in Wisconsin. This is something we choose to do. With that choice comes the obligatory commitment to speak long and often about the weather and to share our opinion of it.

I’d venture to guess that no one really cares too much about the weather, since there is nothing we can actually do about it, except move.

For most people, especially the timid who might have underdeveloped conversation skills, the weather is a topic that can provide an easy way to start or end a conversation. It’s part of the fabric of our lives. It helps us to be better socialized people.

On thing we’ve noticed in the office is that when the weather starts getting ugly, people start calling in their reservations for scheduled events. It’s like a form of cabin fever that takes over and everyone wants to wrap up the loose ends of their lives. People stumble in with to-do lists in hand crossing off as many items as they can as if there awaits a big prize if these chores get accomplished before the storm really hits.

On days when it is bright and sunny, the phone hardly rings. Throw a little rain, sleet or snow into the mix, and everyone and their mama wants to make plans.
I first noticed this phenomenon when I was a travel agent in Minnesota. As an agent, about 99 percent of your work is done over the phone, but on those crazy weather days if the phone lines were busy, people would actually brave the elements and come into the office to plan a distant trip face-to-face.

I’m grateful for the people who do outside jobs, no matter the weather. You would not want me on their team. I’d be the one dragging everyone down and slowing up the process. Some friends recently teased me that over the past couple of years, I have established in my columns the fact the I am not a nature girl. So true.

At least I’ve made sure my employment over the years has always been indoors so as not to disrupt any co-workers.

Being an indoor gal at heart, I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced the anxiety of cabin fever. It could be that when I bury my head into a book or watch marathon TV episodes of a favorite show that I’m right where I want to be. FOMO (fear of missing out) does not exist, and time stands still in a good way.

I have younger friends who planned their lives well and are now charting off to different lands that specialize in ocean views and tropical drinks. I’m happy for them feeling footloose and fancy free where the days never deviate from the sunshine and smooth waters.

There is the chance that I would enjoy that kind of life. But the reality is, I’d be the one with my head in a book, hiding from the sun so that my pasty white skin would remain as is, unaffected by nature.