Tuesday, February 27, 2007

old man winter (isn't done with the white stuff) ...

as a person who prides herself on never having an opinion on anything, i am going to go out on a limb and tell you about something that i very strongly support: i love snow.

it is pretty. it is interesting. it causes a bit of havoc and the right amount of havoc is crucial. i rarely feel more genuinely alive than when my blood is boiling. and believe me, my blood boiled last night as i tried and failed to coax my tiny ineffective and bald wheels up first one unplowed hill, than another unplowed hill. i eventually made my way to my destination via the canadian border at 4 miles per hour. ditched my car in the first open spot and then hiked the rest of the way.

still loving the snow, though.

last week, when i heard that a blizzard was scheduled to dump all over my town i was giddy. i loved the idea of waking to self-imposed confinement and the running sitcom of my life being viewed on a black and white television set that requires a needle-nose pliers to crank to the right channel. romances conducted in matching twin beds running parallel. our male lead in plaid flannel pajamas. a single roller pinned to my bangs. the phrase: "GOOD NIGHT!" as a vulgarity.

"i still get excited about snow days," one of my friends, approximately a mid-20s something who can in no way profit from the malls being closed and city busses halted.

"ME TOOOOOO!" i exclaimed, despite the fact that i only learn about snow days around the time of day when the roads have already been plowed and the snow-creature building, tunnel digging, angel-making, snow-eating contests, moon boot mishaps have already been had.

saturday night chuck and i walked to pizza luce for the state champs' cd release. four and a half blocks through snow, but not cold. later saturday night chuck and i walked back up hill through more snow and eyelash freezing, mucus solidifying cold. cars rolled backward down lake avenue. lanes were more of a suggestion than a rule. two blocks into the arctic hike i wanted to lay face down in the mess and drown myself. two more blocks and i felt like i was already dead. when we got to my house, his hair was white: "that's what you'll look like when you're 80," i said. "not bad." i was strangely attracted to the retired, metal detector hobbyist, version of him.

we woke to the after-effect and it was excellent. our cars were buried to the point where we had to blindly dig through mounds, searching for approximations of the right makes and models. it was like a game show.

first he dug out his car, which was in a far more dire situation. then he handed me the shovel, eked his way out of the spot and drove around town looking for a plowed place to park. i began digging out my car and a man approached and offered to help. at first i declined. then i passed him the tool when i realized that shoveling is a lot like carrying things. heavy things, with no place to put them.

"you don't have to pay me," he said.

he huffed away. chuck returned. i sent him my silent hilarity via brainwaves:

"look! i found a sucker to dig out my car for me!"

they alternated shifts and eventually the civic was free so we went to brunch and two blocks away we saw the same man pushing another car out of a snow pile and i decided he was just a really nice person.

all day long, people in snow mobile suits were walking down the middle of the road. more people than i see on the average sunny july day. maybe lured by the lawlessness of an apocolyptic level of snow and a rabid case of cabin fever.

i've not always enjoyed snow, but lately i like a lot of things i've never liked before. (last night i ate pizza that was smothered in mushrooms. granted, i dug each pesky sliver of fungitude off my slices, but ordinarily i wouldn't even be able to stomach that musty hint accented by microwave rays).

in elementary school my bus stop was eight blocks from my house. uphill both ways. sometimes i would just stand at the top of the hill and tumble my way to the corner; other times i would find a patch of ice and fling myself down the hill. i remember that it took nearly a half hour to get home one day. i was wearing cords beneath my plaid jumper. by the time i got to my garage, my bladder gave out. and while i was in about fifth grade and technically too old to wet my pants, the warmth of the accident cancelled out my shame.

in these days, there were also a few incidents involving my brother pitching me head first into a bank and rubbing my face in the snow.

before i moved to duluth, a friend said: "you realize that duluth gets more snow annually than juneau, alaska, right?"

(to the best of my knowledge, this is untrue: juneau receives 101 inches; duluth approximately 77.5 inches)

eventually i will be ready for duluth's version of summer. margaritas on the deck of the hacienda and the idea that maybe today i'll inline skate on the lakewalk, but probably not. but for now i'm stoked about winter. which is good. because i just heard on tv a sentence that would usually make me cringe: "old man winter isn't done with the white stuff."


Kate said...

It is kind of lawless! I did the same thing when I lived in Endion. I'd start by Temple Israel and go east, never worrying about getting clubbed by a car, because none were out. It made a super-loud neighborhood super-quiet.

amy a. said...

i told you not to walk home you fool! it took me 20 minutes to get up the hill in my minivan, but boy was it a blast.