Countless studies indicate that those in sunny climates are generally happier than those who are not. It only takes one Chicago winter to realize the truth in this. By November grayness dominates the sky and the sun quickly becomes the muttering of mythology and folklore. What if we’re wrong though? What if it’s not the sun but some other confounding variable that brings the happiness about? It took a Vegas/Palm Springs trip for me to discover what psychologists have been missing all along.
In transit from the Vegas airport to the hotel, the first thing I noticed – well actually the second thing I noticed after my eyes unfortunately couldn’t avoid the expansive “Thunder from Down Under” billboard that blatantly occupied the majority of our bus window – were the palm trees. Outside the strip, these botanous totems rise above over almost every man-made structure, seemingly keeping watch over all corners of the “city that doesn’t sleep.” The second thing I noticed: it was raining. And thirdly, despite coming off the tail end of a long Chicago winter, I was happy. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good rainy day from time to time. But I highlight the fact, only to point out the sun’s absence from the equation. With the sun AWOL, deductive reasoning would suggest that it was in fact the palm trees that were elevating my spirits. Just think about it for a second . . . Ok, I’m willing to admit that maybe this isn’t the soundest reasoning. Chances are we won’t see prescriptions of palm overrun the anti-depressant market.
BUT . . . all I know is palm tress were everywhere, and I was happy.