As I write this, the floating concrete mall known as Manhattan is experiencing a “wintery mix,” which is what happens when Old Man Winter has food poisoning. Walking to work this morning I got snow up my nose, elbowed in the fat wings by a grumpy Hobbit wrapped in scarves waiting for the subway, and went ankle deep in an enchanted ice puddle. It had to be enchanted, because I’m sure it laughed at me as I cursed. As a little kid, I was certain that snow was just God shaking a giant powdered donut over my house, but now that I am older, I know that snow is just Death’s dandruff. The winter is only enjoyed by Vikings, Tauntauns and people in relationships.
I usually hate the concept of “nesting,” which is just a marketing term invented to sell sage-scented silk throw pillows to emotional isolationists. What I used to call it was “bunkering down,” which is when you turn your living space into a personal Alamo. As far as I can tell, there are only two reasons to bunker down, and that’s 1) invasion by zombies and/or a post-apocalyptic biker gang and 2) a blizzard. The former requires a sawed-off shotgun, the latter a loved one, and maybe a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream and a Pixar movie and a blanket. Let’s be honest, when the cold rolls in, the one you love is suddenly a hot water bottle you can have sex with.
But if you’re alone, the cold and snow can amplify loneliness. Sure, you can take the edge off every so often by going home with a pound of slutty General Tso’s chicken, or by watching a strangely addictive period drama on PBS that’s about butlers with feelings and manor borns behaving badly. But eventually, you end up in bed snuggling ghosts. That is, if you’re Edgar Allan Poe. But you know what I mean. I can’t think of a more pure primal human urge than to reach for a warm lump snoring next to you as ice angrily tap dances outside the cave/teepee/log cabin. Human body warmth is a visceral sensation on par with eating warm brownies, or emptying your soul through your face at a karaoke bar or smelling the top of a baby’s head; a reason to live.
Not that blizzards are always blessings between beloveds. I’ve suffered through cabin fever before, snowed in with a woman I had to remind myself I love. There have been plenty of times where a weekend spent inside while the sky barfed Slurpees when Jack was all work and no play. Dark nights when I had to remind myself that A) my apartment doesn’t have a 1920s bar and B) that bar I don’t have also doesn’t have a bartender named Lloyd.
I remember spending a romantic weekend in Atlantic City years and years ago. Well, romantic? My girlfriend at that time decided that gambling, swilling champagne, and then getting it on in a heart-shaped hot tub IN our hotel room was a great idea. Anyway, it started to snow Sunday morning. In all fairness, she suggested we stay another night but I insisted that we leave. That if we left now, we could beat a snowstorm that promised to dump over a foot of snow from AC to New York. The drive down from Queens to the Jersey Shore took three hours and change. The drive back through MEGASTORM took us 12 hours. Twelve hours of our little rent-a-car puttering through great drifts of snow and me jumping out of the car on the highway to try to chisel away ice on the windshield. We started the slog very much in love. By the end, she looked at me – you ever seen one of those old cartoons where two characters are stranded on a desert island or in the arctic and they get so hungry that one character looks at the other but instead of seeing that character, he sees a giant ham? Well, I was, briefly, a giant ham to this woman.
I firmly believe that the only time to freak out about snow is when it comes down in July. But for those of you in the Northeast, I know you understand it when I say I’m sick of this mini-Ice Age. I swear, if any of you Canadaese comment about how the snow in the States is “nothing,” I am going to s**t ice cubes. You are a Mighty Snow People. Snow Klingons. Good for you. Shaddup. I cannot wait for spring. When the first thaw comes, Gotham City is going to go bizzz-onkers. I already have a sundress picked out. This city is going to party like the Romans. We’re going to get our orgy on. Personally, I’m going to skip and twirl. On the Charlie Sheen Scale Of Debauchery, I’m going to turn it up to a 1, 1.5. But until then, I endure. Hug ‘em if you got ‘em. If not, I was totally serious about my pal General Tso. In some ways he’s better than a significant other.
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