By Matt Gordon
You may have read part one of this exposé here. It was a Hemingwayian treatise that conclusively summarized every single possible viewpoint on temperatures that feel like minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius or Kelvin or some other measurement because, you know, at minus 30 whatever, it doesn’t matter. Nothing does.
You begin your day under covers. About a thousand of them, the weight of which feels like being buried semi-alive. But even that crushing, maddening weight is inviting compared to wriggling free into the North-of-the-Wall hell that awaits in the non-cover portions of your humble abode. You stagger forth, shivering.
But you don’t make it far: you stumble on the mound of clothes at your bedside.
“You have quite a situation going on over here,” your mate chides. “And, really, a swimsuit?”
“Layers,” comes your teeth-chattering reply.
Each day you place upon your body every fabric of clothing in your entire home. Every night you peel out of it like a snake shedding its skin. And still it is not enough, never enough, to stave off the merciless cold.
The shower is your only solace. If it works. Apparently, when temps reach minus 30 degrees something, shape-shifting pipes swell up like slugs, then burst suddenly in a fountain of destruction, like some chilly blister exploding. To deal with the pipes you employ space heaters and blow dryers and your own last hot breaths. This increases your electric bill to about the National deficit and pretty much leaves you at a coinflip for burning your house down. Hey, at least it will create a spasm of momentary warmth.
And all of this while one is still indoors.
Leaving for work you have the epiphany that there are two types of people in this world: those that own snowblowers and those that don’t. My neighbor is of the first category. He’s out there letting the modern marvel of machinery take care of his driveway, while I ramp my vehicle up and out of the garage, trying to get to work. I meet eyes with his cold, dead eyes as a I drive past, waving with every bit of desperation and enticement I can muster, willing him, Jedi-style: “Snow blow my drive while I’m gone; Snow blow my drive while I’m gone; Snow blow my drive while I’m gone.”
I return from work and he is gone. The snow in my drive is not. Somehow there is more of it. Piled menacingly to heights greater even than the massive clothes pile I will shed later. His driveway looks pristine: an effortless picture of perfection. I hate him. No, hate is too strong a word for this. Let me try again: I wish to invoke upon him continual, forever bodily harm as I coax and careen my automobile up and over the abominable snow drifts which stand ever rising before my chilled home.
I enter my home, frost on my breath and ice in my beard. Instantly, I start undressing. If I am diligent about it, I’ll be down to my unders by about midnight. Then I curl up in my ice-slab of a bed and dream of the great snow blower in the sky, the mighty sun, and wonder why he has forsaken us. I awaken early, to the distinct sound of my neighbor’s snowblower a-humming, and the whole frozen affair goes numbingly on.