Monday, February 25, 2008

I Am Not the First Fool

This weekend I was busily stacking my arms with newly arrived home furnishings at TJ Maxx when I almost stumbled into another shopper. In fact, I almost stepped on her feet. Normally, this wouldn't have been a big deal. It's February, after all. In February, normal people wear shoes that cover their feet. Sneakers, boots, loafers, whatever. They do not wear flip-flops.

But this lady was wearing flip-flops. Oh, you should've seen the look I gave her. The look was a combination of Are you nuts? and For real? and You are unreasonable! Flip-flops! In February! When there is a layer of ice and snow so thick in the parking lot that I've forgotten what asphalt looks like!

I can appreciate optimism, but that this woman's flaunting of her perfectly-painted toenails just seemed silly. But maybe it's because I'm taking this winter hard. I don't usually take it so personally when winter drags on and on and on and on, but lately I've begun waking up and thinking, You're doing this just to piss me off, aren't you, winter?

I am restless. I am craving things like sun, a crisp snap to the air, and the color green. Here near the coast of Maine, we've got absolutely none of those things. Maine hasn't been having a winter like we'd have in Buffalo, and it's not as cold as the winters we had in Minnesota, but this one seems extra tough because the lack of regard the town has for my small back street. The plowing has been questionable. The snow accumulation has been impressive. The banks have grown and grown and grown, and no one bothered to clear the sidewalk or even the road once the banks outgrew even themselves and spilled out onto our driving space. This has made getting out of my driveway and down the very giant hill on which I live a challenge. Getting back up the hill has been equally troublesome at times, and, after the ice storm that almost kept the Boy From Work from arriving in Portland, there was even a night where I could not get my car up the hill. The tires spun. The car squealed against the ice. I had to back down the hill and go up the other way, which was slightly better sanded.

The only thing I find even remotely redeeming about winter still being here is that it gives me reason to drink this. (I'm just recently coming to the Cacao Reserve party--a fact that irks me plenty, mainly because this hot chocolate is so freaking good.) Save for the hot cocoa, I have nothing good to say about winter. It's making me crazy, and maybe it's making my students crazy, too.

But even though I've been itching to hurry winter along, to get Maine back to the beautiful thing it was when I arrived, I have not turned into the first fool (right, AN?) who trudges out into the still-freezing winter air in a pair of shorts, in flip-flops, in a tank top. No. I refuse to sink that low. I refuse to fool myself into thinking that my teeth are chattering because I'm just! so! excited! it's! spring! and not because it's twelve degrees and snowing.

Still, today I did do something that made me wonder if I was walking some first fool line. This afternoon a nice swatch of sun sent the temperature nearish to forty degrees, and because of this I was inspired to roll down my windows--a crack! a smidge!--while I was running some errands. No one else dared to play that game, but I figured maybe that was just the Buffalo in me coming out to shine. After a winter of lake effect, you get pretty excited by the way warmth smells in the air. And I just wanted to have a few minutes to smell it, to sit at a stoplight and breathe in something that was just a little different, a little kinder than the heavy weight of winter that's been dangling around our necks for the last forever. But then the stoplight turned green again, and I had to creep forward along streets pocked with--no, demolished by--potholes from the hard winter freeze, and suddenly even the warmish air couldn't change the fact that we weren't done yet, that I'm going to have to entertain many more winter weeks before I can even start dreaming about the beauty that is this state in warm weather.


cornshake said...

ah...i am soooo sick of winter, it is not even funny. so grumpy, in fact.

but whatever you do, DO NOT turn into Maine's First Fool! ;)

(i think the tjmaxx lady already got you beat on that one)

Anne said...

I can relate. I'm dating a boy who only wears flip-flops and shorts. He wore that to WNY during Christmas. He wore that all throughout his undergrad years in Pittsburgh. I don't get it.

Jess said...

That would drive me crazy, Anne!

Doesn't he get wet and cold in those flip-flops?!