Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Winter of My Discontent


I’m sitting here with chattering teeth, slathering my alligator hands in moisturizer, and trying to find some sort of redeeming value to winter. Since I’m not the wealthy owner of an oil well, a ski resort, or a Snuggie factory, this is proving to be a bigger challenge than I anticipated.

I’m done with trying to hide my unbridled anger toward winter. I hate snow. I also hate that my skin looks like a cheap leather wallet, slowly being cooked each day by the heated zero-percent-humidity air relentlessly blowing from every vent. I hate that I have become a walking, talking semi-conductor in skinny black pants, sparking and popping each time I touch a door knob or give my kids a kiss. I hate that Static Guard is the only way I can keep my hair from looking like I just crammed a fork into an electrical outlet. And do you know how hard it is to run when you are bundled head to toe like you’re off to man a research station in Antarctica? Let’s just say that I won’t be setting any personal records this season.

This winter isn’t even a month old, and we are already breaking low temperature records. My son, noticing that a bank thermometer read 12 degrees, announced with confidence, “That sign must be broken.” Oh, don’t I wish. Obviously, hell has frozen over as well, because I left the house this morning in thick socks, a heavy coat and a scarf. Me? In socks? This is an unmistakable sign of the coming apocalypse, my friends. I am a true daughter of the Confederate States of America, wearing slides and Capri pants year ‘round. The only reason I even own a winter scarf is because a relative made it especially for me. (Probably on a July afternoon as a desperate attempt to distract her from the boiling summer heat, no doubt) And the socks belonged to my mom. Even the dogs are balking at doing their business outdoors lately. Each time I open the door they look at me as if to say, “Um, let me get this straight. You seriously want me to go outside without pants on and do what?”

I have found myself fantasizing about the day when the temperature breaks 40 degrees, and I can prance around in nothing more than corduroy pants, a wool sweater, and a pea coat. To hell with gloves, I say, let’s get crazy! I may even run in bare feet to the mailbox as if I was a middle-aged Laura Ingalls skipping through a field of wildflowers in braids and a flowing dress. A girl can dream can’t she?

Unfortunately, reality has returned like a slap in the face. Snow is in the evening forecast. I’ll grit my teeth, do a quick bread and wine check, then turn up the heat. I will don my tank top and shorts and strut around barefooted in proud defiance. Old Man Winter will not get the best of me this time. I will not go gently into this cold night.

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