October 30, 2010

October is the tensest month

October has long struck me as the busiest, most serious month of the year. It's not just the sports calendar that peaks in October, although baseball, which is a snooze most of the year, is the obvious metaphor. In my experience in the corporate world (not in retail, and at firms where the fiscal year was the same as the calendar year), October tended to be the month in which the big decisions were made that determined whether or not this would wind up being a good year or not. Nothing was settled in August, September was devoted to increasingly serious sparring, and by mid-November it was getting to be too late to make a difference in the current year.

In the comments, a farmer in New Zealand described the impact on him of October (or, to him, April):
"The darkness and the bitter cold"

Even though the winters are not too cold and there is no snow here at 36 south latitude, they can be miserable with over 1000mm of rain .
 
My farming ancestors are from Sweden , Scotland and England. Farming engenders a low-level background anxiety and reaches a peak in the autumn , when the shortening days and lower light levels have an almost physical influence on me as a farmer.

The anxiety is much heightened as I do the mental inventory of stock feed for the winter, food in the deep freeze for the family, completion of summer tasks, enough firewood to see us through the winter etc. Some days I am literally running at this time of year, and as one gets older , there is certainly more awareness of one's genetic make-up and deep history and the resulting drives.

39 comments:

Vincent said...

October is also when most first (and many second) round interviews are scheduled by finance and consulting firms.

Also, many undergraduates have midterms in this month.

Anonymous said...

Some days I am literally running at this time of year, and as one gets older , there is certainly more awareness of one's genetic make-up and deep history and the resulting drives.

No kidding.

I had always been fascinated with history, and now that I have HBD on the brain, every time I walk through the grocery store or the shopping mall or one of the local university campuses, I am scanning peoples' faces [bone structures and hair colors and skin textures] and immediately seeing centuries [millenia?] of theological and geographical and [non-religious] cultural influences which went into making it.

Yikes.

dearieme said...

October is the tenthest month, in spite of its name.

Kylie said...

Not in all fields.

In the hospitality industry here in the States, I found the holiday season (late November-early January) is the tensest and, I would add, the most demeaning.

Bonus Gift said...

Seasonal Affective Disorder (“SAD”) may largely be to blame for this (although the bonus cycle contributes as well). That is, people seem to anticipate the coming of the winter solstice and the shortening of the day. In short, October sees the most dramatic psychological reaction for people suffering from SAD (i.e., it has been shown clinically).

Interestingly, at least to me, is that Icelanders are largely immune from SAD (i.e., they have been shown to largely be immune from SAD). If we based eugenics on such things as SAD I’d order a few hundred million Icelanders to begin to offset the rest of us who seem to respond in rather depressing ways toward the onset of fewer daylight hours.

Anonymous said...

Could be. I work in IT and we try to get a big release in at the end of every year and right about now is when we're in the thick of it.

Anonymous said...

Yes but what does October say about the hierarchy of race in America and also in history?

rightsaidfred said...

There is something ingrained in Northern people regarding the seasons. Many get "island fever" in the southern latitudes.

David said...

It seems that at the end of every year, five things happen: 1) Theft skyrockets; 2) Businesses lay off people; 3) The governments, local and federal, crack down (this includes arrests as well as elections and political turnovers generally); 4) People give up at work, and incompetence increases; 5) Traffic accidents, suicides, bankruptcies, illnesses, and fires in homes and businesses, suddenly descend everywhere. It’s as if people are juggling too many balls during the year, and at the end of the year they all come crashing down on people’s heads.

(I just now noticed that those five items may be related causally. Number 5 can lead to Number 4, which can lead to Number 2, which can lead to Number 1, which can lead to Number 3.)

Don't forget the amazing pressure that can be exerted by the holidays on anyone who has a family. Halloween, fall festivals, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Receiving-the-Bills Day.

And don't leave out the fact that school just started. Sure, the kids are out of our hair (unless we homeschool). But anxious, stirred-up kids stir up their parents, who now must attend all manner of PTA meetings and sports and arts events, buy school supplies, tickets, sports equipment, and Girl Scout Cookies, and watch out for young'uns jumping around in the road waiting for innumerable buses that clog traffic in every direction along with those school zones in literally every street.

Don't omit the shortening days. Less time in which to do things. More darkness. More rain.

Summertime - and the living is easy, if you have AC.

After that, forget it.

Here in East Tennessee, where there are so many beautiful fall leaves, these pressures seem acute. They are not as bad in, say, Florida. Lots of Scots-Irish here.

Now would be a good time to take that cruise ...

Polistra said...

Same here. My best times (new job, new house, new love, etc) have usually started in Oct, and my worst times (broke and hopeless, getting hit by a car, etc) have usually started in Oct. The job side does connect to fiscal years (ie Oct 1 is when research contracts start and stop), but the other stuff doesn't.

Dennis Dale said...

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

Shakespeare, Sonnet 73

'nuff said

alonzo portfolio said...

David, what do you mean re prevalence of Scots-Irish in east Tenn? Are you talking about violence? More please.

Harry Baldwin said...

There always seems to be a lot of road work in October. I've assumed this has to do with the local politicians wanting to show us that they're accomplishing something before the upcoming election, but maybe it has to do with budgets.

This is something that has registered on me for years, but perhaps it's not true in other parts of the country.

Road work causes tension.

TD said...

This post confused me a bit, mainly because of this:

In the comments, a farmer in New Zealand described the impact on him of October (or, to him, April)

In what comments did a farmer do this describing?

ironrailsironweights said...

October is also when political campaigning is at its peak. For much of the month our mailbox is filled with campaign fliers.

Peter

Anonymous said...

In other news, Christine O'Donnell accuses her attackers of being 'sexist.'

WHy? because any critique of any woman is sexist.

Anonymous said...

Bad stock market crashes do tend to occur in October.

David said...

>what do you mean re prevalence of Scots-Irish in east Tenn? Are you talking about violence?<

The S-I create here a pissed-off milieu unlike that of other white areas I have inhabited in other states. It is marked by difficulty in communicating and cooperating due to mental operations being noticeably slow among them. For example, correctly passing a vehicle here without experiencing some frightening attitudinal conflict is definitely not a given.

It's like a black ghetto, only with white-complected inhabitants who are mostly on the low end of middle-middle class.

The S-I are not as violent, but they give the impression of being rather poorly prepared for the modern or corporate or highly populated world. Everything seems harder for them.

If I were considering bringing a manufacturing plant here, I would first hire an industrial psychologist from outside the area to ensure discipline. As someone recently remarked to me about these people, "You have to watch both sides of them."

In the years since moving out of state for the first time, I was frequently struck by how guileless and benevolent other white people are.

There are lots of other types of people here of course, and they all stick together. Interestingly, Jewish people run and attend many of the newer Christian churches (the warm kind of Jews who would be surprised - maybe - to learn of their ethnic heritage). The cold secular type of Jews staff almost 100% of at least the new media here. Interesting too is that the low English (I call them "English potatoes") are well-represented: on some days when in the lower-middle or lower class areas, you feel as if you are in "The Canterbury Tales" or among Falstaff's cronies. The more successful potatoes (middle-middle) are snobbish in the predictably English way.

This is by no means intended as a full inventory, was hoping only to address and answer your question.

Kylie said...

TD said..."In what comments did a farmer do this describing?"

FF made those comments in the "Conspicuous Assumption" entry Steve posted on Thursday.

Anonymous said...

"The S-I create here a pissed-off milieu unlike that of other white areas I have inhabited in other states. It is marked by difficulty in communicating and cooperating due to mental operations being noticeably slow among them. For example, correctly passing a vehicle here without experiencing some frightening attitudinal conflict is definitely not a given.

It's like a black ghetto, only with white-complected inhabitants who are mostly on the low end of middle-middle class.

The S-I are not as violent, but they give the impression of being rather poorly prepared for the modern or corporate or highly populated world. Everything seems harder for them."


There's a good description of Scotch-Irish in David Hackett Fischer's "Albion's Seed". Basically, these are frontier people: first on the English/Scottish Borders fighting each other, then in Northern Ireland fighting the Irish, and finally on the North American frontier in Appalachia and the Alleghenies, fighting the Indians.

That kind of a background makes for people who are quick to take offense and quick to fight; better suited for frontiers and less densely populated areas; not well suited for modern urban environments. Still, I'd rather have them on my side in a fight than not.

Cinco Jotas said...

From a historical perspective, until the 19th century, October was the month for decisive battles.

Armies chased each other around all summer, and so fall was the time settle things before winter began.

Gaugamela, Zama, Tours, Hastings, Poitiers, Agincourt, Lepanto, Saratoga, Yorktown, & Balaclava were all fought in October.

Anonymous said...

Cinco Jotas: Gaugamela, Zama, Tours, Hastings, Poitiers, Agincourt, Lepanto, Saratoga, Yorktown, & Balaclava were all fought in October.

General Nash and President Witherspoon's son, James, were killed at Germantown, in October [Major Witherspoon instantly; General Nash a few days later].

Shortly thereafter, General Washington retreated to Valley Forge, and the entire army damned near starved to death.

someguy said...

I have been waiting for a post about Rahm and his run for mayor of Chicago. This topic seems ripe for discussion. Look at how he dispatched with J.J. Jr. He let news of his affair leak. The affair itself didn't matter. What was important is that it was with a white woman; blond no less. Who does this anger? Black women voters. It also lets Jesse know that even more dirt was going to be leaked if he persisted in a run.

Now we have another potential candidate, Dart, deciding not to run. One wonders if Rahm has dirt on him. So, even though Chicagoans are not very keen on having Rahm as mayor they may get him because he scares off potential challengers.

TD said...

FF made those comments in the "Conspicuous Assumption" entry Steve posted on Thursday.

Ahh, thanks, Kylie. When I'd searched for the farmer's quotes, the only Google hits that came up were this very post (and its VDARE clone). So I couldn't figure out where they'd come from.

Steve Wood said...

I work in a medical school, where we operate on the academic year (July-June). So, as with the Antipodeans, your October is our April. And, yes, it is the tensest and busiest month. However, there are no really big decisions made in April - academia, like government, operates on a much slower time line than business. Instead, April is the month when the consequences of the big decisions that were made much earlier, often with vague or absurdly optimistic ideas about funding, must be accommodated in the real-world budget for the next fiscal year. It's also when the paperwork and countless small and medium decisions associated with hiring new faculty who will start on July 1 (such as determining their salaries) approaches a frenzy.

Otherwise, I agree with the idea that October - especially late October - is when the approach of winter becomes undeniable. In the Northeast and Midwest, the weather is usually distinctly cool by late October (it's 57 degrees right now in Philadelphia, 30 degrees cooler than a typical afternoon just two months ago); the changing leaves are at or just past their peak, and the days, even with DST, are very short.

Also, for those of us who are holiday-season-phobic, the impending arrival of that most annoying time of year becomes undeniable.

In fact, I think late fall is a more depressing time of year than winter. By January, the days are growing every so slightly longer, and by February, at least in the mid-Atlantic area, spring is just a few weeks away (or so we can tell ourselves).

Dong Wang Koon Tang said...

lol, in keeping with the "China Threat" media narrative: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/01/health/01plague.html?hp

kiss my scotch-irish #ss said...

The S-I create here a pissed-off milieu unlike that of other white areas I have inhabited in other states. It is marked by difficulty in communicating and cooperating due to mental operations being noticeably slow among them.

Funny how fascists believe that those who don't follow orders suffer from a failure to communicate.

Laban said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCnJdQ9izto

Anonymous said...

October 1 also marks the beginning of the fiscal year for the U.S. Government. New federal budgets take effect then, with a ripple effect on the entire U.S. economy.

This date has become less important in recent years, however, as Congress has increasingly been unable to pass a budget on time, relying instead on continuing resolutions that keep spending at the previous year's level until a new budget is signed into law.

dasfdasf said...

OT.

I guess this didn't turn out too well.
US had the Founding Fathers, Mexico had the Floundering ones.
Fascinating topic though, and wonderful backdrop to films such as The Wild Bunch and Duck You Sucker.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_Revolution

Justthisguy said...

Well, yeah, if you're a Sub-Saharan African who still lives there, there's not much of a percentage in thinking ahead; something is probably going to eat you, anyway. Much better to have quick reactions and be able to run fast.

Justthisguy said...

Alonzo, I think I'm Scotch-Irish. There's a problem, though. I'm also small, and old, and weak. Prudence tells me that I should avoid fights, though getting crossways with people invokes a desire in me to just go for their throats. This is one of the reasons why I have avoided attemping to ride an airliner since sometime in the 1990s.

Anonymous said...

"Funny how fascists believe that those who don't follow orders suffer from a failure to communicate."

Funny how those who don't govern themselves well are so quick to accuse others of having a desire to tyrannize.

Gene Berman said...

Steve Wood said:

"I work in a medical school, where we operate on an academic year (July,June)"

That's funny. I had this idea that, at medical schools, you operated on cadavers! Yo!

Dahinda said...

My whole year is like that! And I am a farmer.

Michael Farris said...

Another song about October (or autumn) anxiety.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2NgDnX-Uwo

For what it's worth, Autumn was my favorite season as a child (and later, adult) in Florida.

In Poland, the identifiably autumn part (to me) is too short, a brief intermezzo between summer and winter.

Tanstaafl said...

The kulaks thought their biggest problems were storms and the seasons. They were wrong.

Kylie said...

Justthisguy said..."...if you're a Sub-Saharan African who still lives there, there's not much of a percentage in thinking ahead; something is probably going to eat you, anyway."

Gives new meaning to the phrase "sub sandwich". Must be terrible to have to live in fear of becoming dinner to a springbok or secretary bird.

Wandrin said...

"Yes but what does October say about the hierarchy of race in America and also in history?"

Evidence of the evolutionary mechanism involved in having to think ahead if you leave or are pushed out of the tropics.

If the seasons never change you don't have to think ahead or worry about surviving over winter.