Breaking: Warm Weather Roils Upstate City
Amsterdam, NY (March 1, 2011) — In the upstate city of Amsterdam, NY , the sunshine and warmth of a spring-like day brought unwelcome news to local residents — the imminent arrival of Spring. Unlike most communities eagerly awaiting the spring thaw and slow rise in temperatures, residents of Amsterdam look upon the change of seasons and their celebrants with a leery and distrustful eye.
“I’m totally opposed to spring”, longtime resident Kim Flanders remarked recently. “I do not see why Amsterdam needs spring. It’s wholly unnecessary”.
Ms. Flanders views were shared by other residents at a nearby coffee shop.
“We only need one season,” remarked Mark Anderson. “Why do we need four seasons? It’s just nuts. Let’s consolidate and share seasons throughout the year–we can do it with one season. Our taxes are outrageous — how many seasons do we need to support?”.
Longtime resident Doris Leachman echoed the sentiment, “I hear a lot about spring; what’s so great about spring? Amsterdam is not Albany or Saratoga; we shouldn’t have spring here. No one in Amsterdam wants spring anyway. If people here wanted spring, they would have moved out anyway. People here can’t afford spring; planting flowers and mowing lawns is way too expensive. Just compare driveway sealer to flowers– pound per pound way less expensive and lasts for decades.”
Both Ms. Leachman’s and Mr. Anderson’s comments received nods of approval from the local patrons with one patron proudly flashing his T-shirt emblazoned with the logo: “Got Asphalt?!”
Emotions ran high on local radio with sightings of migratory birds in the immediate area heightening anxieties especially for seniors. “Those birds gotta go!” , yelled an irate caller. The caller calmed once assured by the radio host, “I’ll get to the bottom of this. Spring doesn’t exist– that’s what the progressive, do-gooder, tree-huggers want you to believe. I’ll bet we’ll have a Spring day below freezing. How do you explain that!?” A spokesperson for WGBW did not return phone calls seeking comment on this story or their recent bulk purchase of blackboards and chalk.
Emotions also peaked on local blogs where sentiments such as these from poster DirectAimer fueled the debate:
Wake up Amsterdam! The lovers of Spring and their puppets are Nazis. Why, I happened to hear them praising Nazis and Hitler; they were singing something about Spring Time for Hitler in Germany. It’s an outrage! I demand an apology!
“We get a lot of calls and complaints from the Amsterdam area”, remarked Kevin Muelik, Director of Communications for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. “It’s a rite of passage for our office with each season. No matter how we explain that this is simply a natural occurrence, we nonetheless get flooded with calls demanding us to stop the change in seasons. It’s rather odd, to be quite honest.”
Not even local politics are immune to the seasonal changes. The Common Council is expected to introduce legislation based upon a recommendation of an ad-hoc committee of local community leaders to clearly outline the parameters under which Spring and other seasons exist. While the framework for marking the beginning and end of the seasons has been long established, the lack of specificity on this issue in the City Charter has galvanized positions amongst the Council , the Mayor and Corporation Counsel.
While no one would go on the record with this blog given local politician’s prevailing views of blogs as corrosive to enlightened public discourse, local officials were looking forward to airing their platforms on the local talk radio shows– the antithesis of the vile nature of blogs– and local politicians preferred venue for engaging the youth demographic. Off-the-record, local politicians were quite happy to engage this blog as the following email exchanges highlight:
Politician 1: “Why does our Corp Counsel get to decide March 20th is the first day of Spring? Why was I not told of the meeting? When was this decided? ”
Politician 2: “I’m cautious about embracing March 20th as the start of spring. I’d like to see how other communities manage the seasonal transition. I’d like to remind you that although I’m engaging with your blog, I never read it or have read it. Sometimes my browser just leads me to random web sites so that’s why I’m here. If I happen to browse here again, I’ll tell you how much your blog sucks but you should know that I don’t read it or visit it. I want to reach out to the young people of our city– through local AM radio.”
Politician 3: “Look, we’ve got to cut taxes and get our budget under control. We need to look out for our seniors– what will Spring do to our already overtaxed seniors?”
The local controversy is even drawing the attention of researchers at the Harvard School of Public Policy. “We found it fascinating that an expected norm and convention followed virtually everywhere– the passing of the seasons based upon observation and facts– would create rifts within a community fabric especially in a modern society.”, remarked Dr. Antoine Snelling, Director of the Amsterdam Center for Analysis of Cognitive Dissonance and Epistemic Closure. “Of course, a ‘modern society’ may find differences, sometimes subtle, sometimes pronounced, but the recurring incidence of these rifts in policy discourse– this is but one instance– in Amsterdam deeply intrigues us. We find it greatly fascinating but at the same time, disturbing, should this impact other communities. At the moment, we feel it is a singular incidence confined to this community.”
While Spring brings angst to many, a few residents embrace the change although it does bring them their own share of challenges. “Well, I just try to ignore it and move on”, remarked Kathy Lewis during a recent trip to Home Depot. “Sure, I get dirty looks, and one time, an older gentleman remarked, ‘must be nice to be a millionaire’, as I wheeled my cart of potted tulips and azaleas past he and his wife. I mean, I’m not a millionaire, and I don’t think you need to be a millionaire to buy fifty-five dollars worth of flowers.” In a hushed voice, Ms. Lewis added, “Sometimes I buy my more expensive flowers outside the city and plant them behind a screen so the neighbors don’t get too riled up.”
Local resident Vince Flippinati shared a similar story on a recent incident at a coffee shop, “I was relaxing with a cup of coffee and catching up on the latest magazines with their spring themes and glossy covers when confronted by a couple about my ‘pornography collection’. Bewildered, I turned to see them pointing at my recent issues of ‘Home & Gardens’ and ‘Architectural Digest’ stacked nearby. It was an upsetting incident, and especially more so later, when my wife accused me of watching porn with an architect after drinking coffee in our garden. Flummoxed as from where this story originated, she informed me that it was undeniably true, as her friends had been told in no uncertain terms that it was true, because the people they know declared it to be definitely true; and hence it must be true. All I know is that I have to be careful of what I read and say out in public especially Spring and Summer, well, actually, any season for that matter. I’m just thankful that the couple did not spot the new issue of ‘Goat and Sheep Herding’ nearby. I can’t imagine my wife’s reaction then. ”
We will follow this story as it unfolds over the next few weeks.