Monday, February 28, 2011

This Is Why I Hate Winter!

The wind that day was gray. Dark swirling maniac gusts that tugged and pushed with clearly evil intent. I tried to pull my coat tighter around my body, hands deep in leaky pockets. My flannel pajama bottoms snapped and rippled as I tried to keep from slipping on invisible ice. As I passed beneath the tree in the back yard clumps of snow broke from the branches and disintegrated into tiny cold pellet-bombs. Plops of snow tapped my head warning me too late that kamikaze ice was about to drop between the back of my jacket and neck. Every step I took, icy wads of heel-squashed snow flipped out of my slippers as the backs of my feet emerged like swimmers gasping for air between strokes. Fresh downy snow puffs cascaded into my inadequate footwear with each step, machine-like, preparing a new pancake of ice to eject on the next step. My legs cranked and my feet punched ahead into deeper and deeper drifts of cold white powder.

Each numbing step I took away from the warmth of my house became more resentful. Stomp… Stomp! STOMP!

My back was cold and yet also oddly sweaty. I snorted an irritated puff of air at this ridiculous thought. Steam rose to my eyes then split and drifted to either side of my head. The inner edges of my glasses clouded slowly from my nose and I knew it wouldn't be long before they'd be entirely fogged. "What the hell am I doing?"

I stopped to look back at the house, which was now hidden behind the gray wind. The turn dislodged a dribble of half-melted snow from the back of my neck and down my back to wedge into the elastic waistband of my pajamas. "Christ, that's cold!" I actually yelled this while I did a quick twisty-dance to dislodge snow from flannel.

Carefully I turned back to consider the tree line I had been walking toward. Again, "What the hell am I doing? This is stupid." Yet my feet resumed their mechanical trudge despite my growing doubts.

After about twenty more ice-cake wads were processed through my assembly-line march, I finally arrived at the trees bordering the back of my yard. I couldn't see much. The spindly tree branches formed a black haphazard spider web against the impenetrable milky soup. Behind this shifting gray backdrop I could see nothing but imagination.

It had taken a great deal of nerve to push me out into the yard this distance. Now that I was here, my nerves were reversing polarity. I had left the back door unlocked. Maybe what I thought I had seen through the window had circled around and was now waiting in my warm house? I was beginning to feel safer in this cold cocoon of dense gray. Well, I couldn't stay here, so I peered as bravely as I could into the wooded fog. I hoped that who- or what- ever was there would see the warrior in me instead of the shivering sweaty overweight boob I was feeling like.

With as a cruel a sneer as I could manage, I turned to head back toward my house. I hadn't taken four steps when the skin and hair on my neck began to prickle with anticipation of an attack from behind. Although I knew that the footsteps I heard were my own, my imagination overrode my intellect and I ran as fast as I could toward that back door. My first step in this sprint toward safety exposed my entire right foot to the raw elements, leaving behind a wet leather slipper. The other slipper was never more than half on my foot all the way back to my house.

I felt foolish as I fumbled the door open and slammed it shut behind me. My fat chest heaved with joy and exertion at the successful finish to my race with whatever imaginary fiend had been chasing me. Truly my smile at this point was one of mild embarrassment. Shaking my head I turned around and twisted the bolt to lock the door. As an afterthought, I pushed the blinds up a bit to see if I could see the tree line. Instead, through the glass I saw the red eyes and yellowed fangs of what looked like a giant man-wolf staring back at me just inches from my face.

If I hadn't lost one slipper outside, I might have pissed myself. I could feel my bladder twinge a bit as if to say it was ready to give it a try.

The truth of the matter, though, is that a man cannot pee if his feet are uneven or if one big-toe is cold and the other warm. The whatever part of my brain responsible for laying down the man-laws issued a military "NO" to my bladder's tentative twinge. That was enough to lock my plumbing. It also had the side effect of clenching my sphincter. I hadn't even been aware of how close I was to shitting myself. I guess it's just another type of man-law: "Focus on one, two will follow."

All of this happened in a matter of milliseconds. My brain had yet to process even a little of it, really. Instead, the moment was dominated by the high-pitched and very girlish sounding scream that I gave as I threw my whole body back from the door. While flying away from the door, a small part of me was only beginning to process the realization that the face I thought I had seen outside the window had really been a reflection of what was behind me.