Before I moved under a gigantic fog cloud (uh, I mean, to Switzerland), I never thought much about the sun.
It was 93 million miles from Earth and similarly distanced from my mind. I went about my days as planned whether the sun shone or not, confident that I would see it again.
But when something is taken away from your life that you never considered important, it acquires divine meaning. So shortly after I arrived in Switzerland, the lack of sunlight transformed me into someone who was white, pasty, and desperate. In other words, a Swiss sun-worshipper.
“Hurry, step outside! The sun’s out.” I’d yell to my husband, flinging the door of our Swiss apartment open.
But he wouldn’t get outside fast enough. Today’s two seconds of sunlight would be gone.
If you would have asked me five years ago what I associated the sun with, I would have said vacation, summer, warmth. But if you ask me now, I’ll just say this: stress.
When it’s a sunny weekday in Switzerland, there’s a lot of pressure. You have to get outside.
Staying inside is not an option because you’ll develop sun guilt. Or worse, sun withdrawal. If you’re stuck in an office and the sun is out, your blood pressure rises. Even if you don’t smoke, you pretend to. You have to get outside.
Sunny Saturdays are also stressful. You need to get outside. But you also need to shop because you can’t shop on Sunday.
The weather might suck for Sunday, but you have to waste part of Saturday shopping. This makes you upset. This makes you antsy. You’re so focused on buying cervelats to grill outside that you forget to get gas for the grill.
Sunny Sundays are also nerve-racking. You have to be outside. And so does everyone else. The trains are packed. The roads are jammed. Everyone wants to be outside but instead they’re stuck inside.
Finally you get to an alpine trail. A remote one. Except there are hundreds of people already there. This you find annoying. This you find less than peaceful.
But then you realize: in Switzerland, the middle of nowhere is the center of the universe. At least while the sun is out.
But instead of stressing, we should just check the weather report for tomorrow. Chances are, the fog will be back and then we can all just relax.