There’s honour among thieves

As a great philosopher once wrote, “we had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun.” Well to be honest, it was the Belgian songwriter Jacques Brel, but he sounds like a philosopher so that’s close enough for me. My suspicion – based admittedly on one trip to Antwerp nearly ten years ago – is that the Belgians know precious little about the sun, but being a Brit I’m probably in no position to argue.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, seasons. Seasons are one of those long-abandoned concepts that used to mean something, but have now been consigned to the dustbintrashcan of life, like Spangles, Cremola Foam and John Leslie. Or, if you’re an American, maybe Marathon bars, Shelley Long and ‘the respect of the rest of the world’. Although thankfully at least one of those appears to be making a long overdue comeback.

In terms of food though, seasons sadly seem to have vanished. As a kid, I used to eagerly look forward to the first strawberries of the year, or to the coming of tiny little Jersey Royal potatoes that tasted directly of the earth that they had come so recently from (thinking about it, it have been that taste principle that prevented me from ever eating the rhubarb that grew over the septic tank in the garden of my Little Chef Cousins). Everything had a time of year, and there was nothing you could do but await its arrival with the legendary patience of an 11 year old.

These days, there’s nothing you can’t find all year round, from tomatoes to asparagus. And to be honest, the world is probably a worse place because of it. The Special One and I are trying to do our own little bit to right the world back on its axis by trying to be locavores who only eat things grown within a certain distance of your home. Given that we live in New York and eat the occasional banana, tomato and avocado, we’ve pegged local as roughly “within 3000 miles” for the purpose of our experiment. After all, we’d have no friends left if we only cooked butternut squash and beetroot for five months of every year.

With California having ruined the concept of the plant world’s season, the United States has co-opted the word ‘season’ for many other things that Brits never seem to use. In Britain, the only non-climate related use of the word season is essentially a reference to the eleven and a half month cycle in which footballsoccer is played. In America, you’re never short of seasons, from the collective noun for a series of TV shows to the period of time when the Oscars, Golden Globes and Grammys take place (‘awards season’, obviously). Although in sports, it’s less about the season and all about the post-season (if you’re a Liverpool fan reading this, the post-season is the point during the year at which you look back and realise you haven’t won the league again).

Walking into the subway the other day, I noticed an LCD sign urging me to keep my jewellery safe. Having quickly taken off all my bling and stashed it in my bag, I read on. Apparently this time of year is “chain snatching season” and people need to be more aware of the risk of having your necklace snatched from around your neck while travelling on the subway system.

Criminals are clearly so much more civilised in America. To provide the best possible service to victims everywhere, they have obviously created a season system in which particular consumer products are targeted at specific times of the year. You always know where you are that way. It’s my guess that chain snatching season ends in a few weeks, to be replaced by the umbrella grabbing season. And by the time the sun is out, we’ll all be able to sit back and bask in the joy of plain old honest-to-goodness purse stealing season.

I can only hope that criminals who don’t stick to the season system are thrown out of the Thieves Union. After all, nobody wants their iPod targeted when portable music device nicking season has just finished, and the briefcase purloining season has just begun, do they?

8 thoughts on “There’s honour among thieves

  1. Trixie Trouble

    Are you sure that the sign wasn’t urging you to “keep your jewelry safe”?

    LOL at the LFC pop!

  2. Trixie Trouble

    And just one more thing, whn you say “purse stealing” for purse do you mean purse=handbag or purse=wallet?

    Just wondering if, for my next NY visit, bringing my bumbag/fannypack will save me . ..

  3. Silverback

    Loved the ‘pool jibe too, Dylan. Well ‘we’ have to have a laugh at any of the 50 teams above us so why not them. Did you get to watch MUFC yesterday at all ?

    Although now living half my year in ‘one season’ Florida (hot and sunny) and half in ‘one season’ England (cold, wet and miserable) I too miss the seasons of my youth, or yute. I’d never thought of thieving seasons though – an idea that ought to catch on in the UK so we too always know where we are. You might say we’ll pinch the idea.

  4. Esther

    Oh how I miss sneaking into the neighbour’s farm and hand picking/stealing Jersey Royals and eating them with lashings of real Jersey butter. Mmmm…

  5. Alasdair

    Dylan – seasoned writer that you are, I’m suprised that you didn’t season this blog post with the many other meanings of the word …

    Still, if, as a result of your residency in the Big Apple, you no longer find yourself (or others) in season on a regular basis, I can understand you not seizin’ the opportunities offered … I am told that most people eventually get to be that old …

    Perhaps you need more locational variety, to give you back your season d’etre, as it were …

  6. Expat Mum

    Umbrella nicking season? Hmm. Thin pickings in Chicago as people take to their cars at the first drop. My kids are the only ones who walk to school in a downpour; everyone else seems to be made of sugar.

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