It’s not the recurrent polar vortices and seesaw temperatures (because when it gets really cold, I am one of those jerks who says, “You know? I really don’t think it is so bad”). It’s not the treacherous sidewalks. It’s not even the layers and layers of thick, ever more shabby black clothing (because all-black clothing is also what kind of jerk I am), and how in the average active day I am eternally taking it all off and putting it all back on. And this process has become so exasperating that, in my hunt for workarounds, my clothes have become mobile. A perfectly adequate work wardrobe has washed up in my office, so many items that I could go to work naked, because why not, all this unending winter is making me stupid, and once there I can choose among two skirts, or maybe three, a pair of pants, two cute jackets, two dresses, and several tops and sweaters, and that’s not saying anything about the shoes, scarves and earrings.
It’s also not the beautiful eloquent FB posts my friends are putting up, reminiscing about – hell, obsessing over – the feel of a summer rainstorm, the look of a grassy hillside in spring, the experience of walking through a farmer’s market fat with produce and pots of gorgeous flowers, the sight of the curtains in your bedroom, lifting pensive, slow, when the windows are open to the warm night air.
And it’s not even the grubby aspect. We are looking at the same damn snow we’ve been looking at since November. Except now it has gone through numerous freeze-thaw cycles, so every eight-foot-tall cliff of fluffy white snow is now a two- or three-foot-tall mound of ice. Put salt on it and the salt just drills a tiny useless hole straight down to the pavement. Step on it and fall. Rounded, pocked, hard, slick, dirty with weeks of street grime. Embedded with glass bottles, beer cans, plastic cups, shuddering plastic bags, bottle caps, broken sticks, dead leaves, dog pee, cigarette butts, single gloves, shards of styrene, the occasional jacket or hat, paper bags from McDonald’s, cardboard, newspapers, swollen telephone books, pizza boxes, combs, a sock, a pacifier, a condom, now and then a dead varmint. I would feel much worse about this part, but in the past couple of days we’ve had six or seven more inches of snow – historic record yay! – so now everything is once again, for today, all pristine and sparkly.
The thing that is really getting to me is how fed up I am with being fed up. We’ve spent the last month venting about how boring and tedious this winter is, how stubborn, how heartbreaking and distracting. We’ve said it to each other in about every way we can and you know? I don’t want to hear it any more. I don’t want to say it any more. We just need to wait. We need to shut up and wait.