I stepped out of my apartment on Monday into the coldest, bleakest day of 2021 out of some morbid sense of dedication and by the time I got to work, winter had sapped me of what little initiative I had to begin with. I didn’t have enough strength of will or character to turn around and go back home. I hate the cold.
And, of course, and everybody and their coworker needed something that required me to go outside, and ride around the campus the golf cart, which offers nothing except an overpriced piece of plastic for protection. Gowns, masks, paper towels. I had to unlock a closet in the library. Mark, I need some more disinfectant cleaner in the new athletic center, but when I parked the golf cart in front of the building, cleaner in hand, oh, I also need some more disinfectant wipes. I didn’t realize until I went into the custodial closet and looked…
Monday was the first day my hands hurt, when I was wearing gloves, the top of my head hurt, even though I was wearing a thick knit hat with a hoodie over it. Monday was the first day this winter that anyone told me their face hurt from standing outside for less than two minutes. I didn’t notice. I was wearing a face mask the whole day, which is a good replacement for a scarf; it keeps my face warm.
10 degrees below zero (no, it wasn’t 10 degrees below zero, but it felt like it) and they’re calling for a bottle of this and one tub of hand wipes like it’s a summer day in July, because they don’t have to leave their buildings. I do.
I am pissed. Cold weather makes me miserable. And it makes me angry. I’m also a spoiled American. I don’t like discomfort and inconvenience.
I walked home from the bus stop hunched and clenched up, like a boxer, like some sad sap getting his butt kicked by the winter hawk. The wind shot through my knit cap like it was made out of paper. My breath escaped form the top of my face mask and fogged my glasses; I had to take them off so I could see better.
I finally got indoors, in my apartment, door locked, wallet and keys in the wooden tray atop the bookcase by the front door, and all I could do was rock myself, miserable, in the living room chair, trying to get over the soul-sucking, joy-stealing shock of the weather outside. I didn’t want to cook anything. I had two frozen burritos in the freezer. I’m not kidding. I don’t know how long they had been in there; ice crystals were collecting on their surfaces. I chopped up some lettuce and five cherry tomatoes and splashed low-fat ranch dressing on them.
It took me hours to get over it enough to uncurl myself and crawl into bed.
When it’s warm, my thoughts turn lightly to weightier matters of writing, health, and the welfare of all human kind. But when its cold, all I can think to write about is how cold it is. In winter it is the only actual problem I have. I can’t remember anything I don’t write down. and all I’m thinking about is getting warm, staying warm, how unbelievably cold it is, and trying to talk myself into calling in sick tomorrow.