As August fades and September is before us, we tuck our shorts and flip flops away. We wake up to the dim fall light filtering through various orange, red and brown hued leaves, and step out the front door into a haze that smells vaguely familiar. Notes of cinnamon, cardamom, and a hint of burgeoning Seasonal Affective Disorder. At first, it was simply lattes, candles, and pastries. Then the marketing potential became obvious. The ascent of the almighty Pumpkin Spice was afoot. It is now an acceptable, even expected, flavor between September 1st and November 30th. Starbucks was an early adopter, a pioneer really. I mean how else were they to gut commuters and college girls of their pocket change after frappuccino season?
Within the last decade, Pumpkin Spice started to trickle into our consciousness. Now, this opium of the people is ubiquitous. Recent sightings include air fresheners, candies, ice cream, Oreos, creamer, Jello, Pringles, pasta sauces, lip balm, dog treats, deodorant, car exhaust deodorizer, nail polish, soap, protien powder, margarine, salsa, talc, beer, and vodka.
Does October inherently smell or taste bad? What are we trying to cover up? Is the Almighty Pumpkin Spice phenomenon a made up season within a season to dupe us into spending more money before the holidays? Or is it simply a way to bribe a generation into cleaning their homes and eating their vegetables? Does anyone know what the humble pumpkin actually tastes like?! Can we wipe the orange foam from our lips, and clear our lungs of the sweet yet spicy fumes to face the reality that winter is coming? And there is nothing we can do about it. There will be 9 months of gray drizzle. But maybe, just maybe, a spoonful of pumpkin spice makes the impending doom go down.