Sudden Summer Syndrome

A Fool In NH Column Heading

As Memorial Day and the official kick-off to the summer season are upon us here in Central New Hampshire, I am confronted with phone calls from former members of F.A.T.S.O. to help them to deal with the upcoming stresses of the season.
As you probably know if you read the papers – well, this one anyway – F.A.T.S.O. is a support group I started with my friend Vinnie years ago to help new transplants deal with the stresses of adjusting to their first winters here. It stands for Flatlanders Adjusting to Solitary Oblivion.
There have been dozens of graduates of the group who have successfully adjusted and now find winter no more than a few months (and in some cases, like this past winter half a year) of a mild inconvenience.
Still, winter is only one of four seasons here. The other three being Autumn, Motorcycle Week and Summer. (There is a bill in Concord right now to designate Road Work as an additional season. We’ll see how that plays out.)
Some former F.A.T.S.O. members who have only been a year or two separated for the groups’ umbilical cord, are finding that they are now nicely adjusted to winter, but at the same time are having trouble doing the same with the summer months.
Many of them used to vacation here in the summer for a week or two and then when they arrived back home kept the thoughts in their heads of how beautiful an area it is here and how they longed to move here permanently,f which many of them did.
Now they suffer from what is known as “Sudden Summer Syndrome”. It is brought on by living here in the quiet off season months and then for about ten frantic weeks having to suddenly cope with paradigm shift in perception.
So, this year, we have started a new group for which we have yet to find a catchy acronym. Still, even without that important piece of the puzzle we are going ahead and already planning how to help those this disease which is much more prominent than many realize.
How do you know if you have “Sudden Summer Syndrome”? Well, here are a few tips. If you think about these things on a more than regular basis during the summer months, the odds are good that you are inflicted.
How do I deal with more than five cars at a stoplight?
Is that tourist from New York yelling at me for something I have no idea that I did or does he just talk like that all the time?
How come “my” table isn’t always available at my favorite restaurant when I go there in the summer?
What is the proper etiquette to be used when dealing with a summer visitor, if any?
Who left all of these shopping carts strewn about the supermarket parking lot?
How come people who only come here for one or two weeks a year know more about the history of Lake Winnipesaukee than I do?
Is it proper to laugh out loud when a summer visitor says: “Someday I am going to retire up here and open a restaurant”?
And, of course, the one question that many ask, but really isn’t a symptom of “Sudden Summer Syndrome” unless combined with at least two others from above is: “Why isn’t the day AFTER Labor Day a holiday?”
Our new group will help those with “Sudden Summer Syndrome” understand important things like why do summer visitors have only two speeds when driving: Way too fast and way to slow, as well as other topics.
Of course, we won’t be having our first meeting until after Columbus Day Weekend since everyone is too busy until then. This gives us plenty of time to come up with a catchy acronym.
Anyone who is interested in joining is more than welcome. We just ask that you write down any things connected with “Sudden Summer Syndrome” since this disease is new to us as well and we will all learn together.
Also, if you have a great acronym for our new group, make sure to send it along to me. If we use your suggestion you will receive nothing except thanks for a job well done.

Visit Brendan’s website at for updates on the first “Real Stories North Of Concord’ storyslam at Pitman’s Freight Room on July 13th to benefit the NH Humane Society.