FROM SURVIVING WINTER
“It’s New York, people. It’s winter. We get snow. If you aren’t prepared to deal with it, move to Miami.”
― Kelley Armstrong
Wake up in the morning and hear the breeze of the ocean and the radiance of fresh, bold sunlight creeping through your translucent shades. Think to yourself, I guess I wasn’t dreaming about being back in Florida, or Costa Rica, or wherever it is was the last time you felt warm, safe, your body exposed to a level of comfort only sunscreen can interrupt. Have your dreams shattered and the crud fly right out of your eyes the second you hear a loud taxi pump anxiety into your veins and and a sudden good morning screech of an”F… You”. Realize you are in the exact same place you were put to rest last night, except somehow you’ve accumulated more blankets, and your stuffed animal bear is mooching off the heat trickling down from your armpits. You’re in NYC and that sunshine is just a front. The same way a guy will push daisies and Godiva chocolate to distract you from the shame, guilt and an ugly mistake that fills in the lines of his puppy-dog face.
Start every conversation with, “How cold is out? Isn’t it just freezing? I hear it’s going to snow? Wait, tomorrow it’s only 60?”Talk only about the weather for the entire month of January, February and the first 15 days of March. Conceptualize that as being okay since during that time frame you will mostly be seeking warmth from the gaps in your couch cushion, hibernating under furry blankets and pulling up your leg warmers until they reach your neck. Only leave that position to go to work, and to open the front door to make a quick exchange with the Pizza delivery man.
Have Skype dates with people that live in other Burroughs. Okay fine, have Skype dates with people who live two blocks away. Stop lying to yourself, have Skype dates with your roommate because you both are too cold to travel the distance from your bed to the couch to reconvene and trash talk the walking spray tan Barbie doll girls on the Bachelor. Think how funny you’d look if you were orange, like them, right now. You’re tan lines are confused and don’t know where to be on your body anymore, so they too migrate South.
Throw your idea of a fashion sense out the window. Make the mistake of believing in the ’power of one’ by wearing just one sweater, one pair of pants, one sock and realize never again. Allow yourself to leave the house only after piling on as much as possible. Wobble around like the Michelin man, looking like you have a broom stuck up your butt, which you very well might. Have people at work look at you like you have no idea what you’re wearing and when they ask, tell them everything. You are literally wearing everything. Your entire “freezing weather” drawer and some of your Summer things to add a splash of color on top. Feel the warmest you have ever felt, as you peak your head out from underneath a triple turtleneck layer, just enough to get a sip of scolding hot tea.
Try to appreciate snow by dancing around underneath it like you’re inside of one of those snow globes you got a kick out of violently shaking inside a warm gift shops as a child. Dangle your arms out to the side and spin around like a tiny, fragile ballerina. Close your eyes as the frozen clumps of white ice make a splash on your cheek bones and mark it’s territory on your once dry parka. Become soaked and find solace by popping open your umbrella, an instant way of knowing that those little tiny sculptures inside those globes must be cold too. Everyone is cold, and if they aren’t, they are liars.
Wait inside behind thin glass and mannequins for the 2nd Avenue bus to pull up. Shiver and wiggle and look like you’re executing a dance move from Zumba class, when really all you’re doing is practicing the law of movement to keep warm. Listen to the boy standing next to you say something like “You’re crazy,” as he blows heat into his palms, “You’re crazy for leaving Florida, for this.”
Lick your chapped lips so they are woken up just enough from a pure state of numbness and as you notice ice chunks start creeping up the sides of your legs tell him, “That’s the only way to be,” absolutely, unadulterated, out of the ballpark, missing a few screws, risky business, kind of ”Crazy.”
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