Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Shit That's Really Starting to Get on My Nerves, Part IV: Winter

Can I be totally lame for a moment and talk about the weather?

I’m getting damn sick of these winters every year. Winter is annoying, time-consuming and expensive. The bills go up, sweaters take up way too much of my closet space, and the whole world is cranky because no one’s getting any sunlight. The house is unbearably drafty, and creepy crawly creatures seem especially eager to take up residence in my bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen.

Waking up in the morning is more difficult than any other time of the year, not just because I’m uncomfortable, but also because I know it’s going to take an eternity and a half just to get out the damn door (especially if I get a nosebleed as soon as I get out of bed due to the dryness). I don my normal work clothes, plus an extra sweater or jacket. Then I have to put on special socks and lace up my snow boots, or if not that than at least wear sneakers to work and change into my other shoes later. I then get out my scarf, hat, and gloves, and just when I think I’m ready to walk out the door I’ve almost inevitably forgotten something. But I’m so bundled up and stiff that it takes titanic effort just to climb up the stairs and reach for whatever I’ve forgotten. And now, I’m almost certainly running late.

After nearly falling on my ass fifteen times on the walk from the door and down the uneven steps to the car, which is parked on the street and is often flanked on one side by a mountain of snow from the plow, I set forth beating the snow and ice off the windshield. Then, after rocking the car over the snow drift while narrowly missing the nearby cars, I drive to work in a two-wheel-drive vehicle that’s very low to the ground and nearly two decades old.

Once on the road, I have to check my GPS and make sure I’m still in the Midwest, because the other drivers appear never to have seen snow or ice before. Or, at least, they’ve never driven in it. They’re either flipping their shit because they saw one flake and are now driving five miles an hour, or they’ve decided that even though the roads are packed and it’s a level two emergency, they can speed because they drive an SUV. On my commute, I listen to how many schools are closed and contemplate how long it would take to earn my Master’s Degree and become a teacher.

At work, everyone tries to outdo one another with the number of times they almost died, as well as itemize the number of accidents and spin-outs they saw on their way in. They compare this year’s winter to that of last year, the year before that, and 1988. They then talk about moving to Florida—(that is, Middle America's Mecca). But none of them ever moves there, or at least not until they turn 75. Throughout the day they complain, pull up Weather.com on their computers, peer out the window, discuss whether it’s getting worse or better, call their kids, and complain some more.

The drive home involves most of the same bullshit from the morning commute. I get home an hour later than I normally would, and by the time enter my house I can’t feel my face and the ankles of my pants are dirty and soaked. I don’t feel like cooking or going anywhere so I call for a pizza delivery, but feel so guilty about making the poor driver go out that I feel like a lazy asshole.

I take a hot shower—by far the most pleasant part of the day—using special shampoo for the seborrheic dermatitis on my scalp. I leave my hair wet because blow-drying it will make my scalp flaky, even though I have taken care to wear a hat every time I step outside. I then apply lotion over every inch of my body so my skin won’t crack, even though I wear about two or three layers.

I change into sweats and climb into bed. There are dishes to wash, laundry to be done, and things to pick up, but it’s too cold for any of that. The last thing I want is to be constantly reminded of how cold it is, considering I spent my work day answering the question, “Cold enough for ya?”

Fuck winter.

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