The Struggles of Being Southern in the Fall

Sunshine and palm trees are great and all, but we still have issues during the fall season.

South in the Fall
Photo: Cheryl Zibisky

Don't get us wrong. It's a privilege and an honor to live full-time in a region that the rest of the country mainly visits at the cost of vacation days and retirement savings. But when the leaves change color and coffee orders turn from iced to hot elsewhere, we remain cloaked in humidity and feel left out in cardigan and pumpkin-spice latte jokes.

Attempt to enjoy America's autumnal wonders too soon down here, and you will turn into a perspiring mess in your boots and buffalo-plaid jacket. Although our neighbors to the North might roll their eyes, here are our other seasonal complaints.

To Sandal or Not to Sandal

There comes a specific time of year when monarch butterflies leave for Mexico, Geese fly to warmer climates, and Southerners across the region collectively stand at their thresholds about to embark on their day and second guess their choice to wear sandals.

It still feels like summer, but the J. Crew catalog in the mailbox says otherwise. While there is no enforced custom saying open-toed shoes are inappropriate during fall, societal pressure tells us to wear boots before temperatures drop. This dressing dilemma causes unfortunate combinations like riding boots with summer sundresses. It also creates the reverse, like tan sandals with a tweed skirt.

Chilling on the Chili

All your magazine covers feature apple pies and stews. Your Facebook feed fills with pumpkin-related recipe videos, and half the grocery store produce department seems dedicated to the winter squash. Yet, the thought of turning on the oven causes you to pull out your imaginary handheld fan. A bowl full of hot butternut soup doesn't produce that satisfying sensation when it raises your internal temperature to match the heat index.

Pine Straw

It is everywhere, and raking it in this humidity increases the likelihood of heat exhaustion.

Travel Troubles

Are you heading somewhere? Do you want to sweat and awkwardly juggle your jacket with your duffle bag on the jetway or brace yourself for a brisk breeze and violently shiver as you exit? Whether you're a Southerner heading a few states upward or a heat-seeking Northerner visiting the South, prepare to strip off or pile on layers depending on how ill-suited your outfit increasingly becomes while in transit.

PPP (Pumpkin Patch Pressure)

Also known as Pumpkin Patch Pressure, as editor Katherine Owen has coined, this acronym refers to the self-induced anxiety over enjoying all fall-related activities before said season vanishes quickly without so much as a day's warning. Some years it lasts a couple of months, others just a couple of weeks. Regardless, you can't take any day of multi-colored leaves and light jackets for granted.

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