I’ll admit it: I find pumpkin spice season to be entirely offensive. Pumpkin spice stands in as a corporate substitute for all I know and love about autumn. But before you call me a pretentious hipster, let me explain. I’m living in the aftermath of three long months spent with a pumpkin-spiced obsessive now known as my former roommate. And I only want to tell you all of this so you can recognize the signs before it’s too late.
The first thing you’ll notice about the pumpkin spice obsessive is a comment on the breeze — some sort of distant look out the window with a long sigh and an “autumn is here, my man” or another equally wistful phrase. His melancholic longing rustles with the changing of the ever-falling leaves. Or so he says.
He walks up to you with a pumpkin spiced latte one morning. “This is the nectar of the season, my man.” It’s the middle of September. It’s 92 degrees outside with 80 percent humidity. By the time October rolls around, he’s spread out small pumpkin-spiced candles in the bathroom like some sort of ceremonial offering.
Next, you’ll see the increasing influence of the pumpkin itself. On the shirts and sweaters he wears, in the donuts and muffins he eats and in his personality and lifestyle decisions. “Want to head to the patch this weekend?” Everything has a pinch of the spice somehow.
You begin to wonder what prompted this change. Is there really something in the air, like the way wild animals respond to pheromones? But it’s hard to think about much of anything with the wafting breeze of pumpkin spice hugging the room. You find a scented Airwick plugged in the hard-to-reach outlet behind the couch.
It begins to seem too absurd to be real, but here it is — “a spicer.” You’d heard stories about these people before, but assumed that they were hiding in liberal arts colleges in Vermont or swirling artisanal mugs in Brooklyn. But now here’s one up close.
What can be done, really? At the rate pumpkin-spice season is going, it might become year-round. Your apartment needs to be fumigated (the neighbors have mentioned the smell), but, on the other hand, it acts as a pretty good bug repellent.
My suggestion: hide, wait. (It’ll go away, right?) Christmas is around the corner, then Valentine’s Day. Pumpkins turn to candy canes, candy canes to chocolates. It’s all part of the cycle. The cycle that never ends.
“Autumn is here, my man. Autumn’s here.”
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