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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Another Lousy Post About Winter

The grayness…

I look around, note the frozen hipsters on the bus (once their skin goes black, there’s nothing to do but mash them up and make bread with them).

I bemoan the cuts on my hands where I’ve carelessly run their dry knuckles against the hard-edged corners of the month of January.

I absentmindedly count the layers of clothing I am wearing (fully 8 pieces more than in, say, August).

And I sigh.

Winter has its boot on the back of my neck. 

I think back, fondly, to summer.  My memories have developed the soft-focus affect of a dream, just moments after waking.  June.  July.  I don’t remember wearing shoes then.  And I recall stepping outside – now get this! – without putting on a hat

Who goes outside without wearing a hat?

From the deepest, most humid parts of my brain, the squat bald man in my head slides his pudgy, dimpled hands against each other gleefully.  The smell of smoke accompanies him.

Where did he get those cigarettes?

I close my eyes.  I hate when he smokes in there.

“Why don’t you,” he says, “call in sick a couple days?”  He takes a drag of his Pall Mall, blows the hit toward my left ear.  “We’ll get drunk,” he says, “and rub our dry little hands over our tubby little middles, see what shakes loose.”

As if to illustrate, he runs his hands over his own belly.  His cigarette, badly in need of ashing, dangles from his lips.

I turn away. 

“Come on,” he says.  “We’ll do Stupid Human Tricks.”  He pulls his tee-shirt up – the one that says “I’m Not a Doctor, But I’ll Take a Look” – pats his head with one hand, rubs his gut with the other.

I sigh.

The ash from his cigarette falls, wiping out most of second grade.

I blink slowly.  I didn’t need those memories, anyway.

The squat, bald man in my head takes another pull from his cigarette – “squares”, he calls them – and closes his left eye, peers at me with the right.  “So what’re you going to do about it?”

I sigh again, something I’m thinking of taking up competitively.  “I have a sick day planned for March,” I say.

The squat, bald man in my head spits into my memories of the seventh grade Sadie Hawkins dance.  “You’ve planned,” he says, horrified, “a sick –“

He can’t finish.

“I’m going to make meatballs this weekend,” I offer, feebly.  “That’s kinda fun…”  The word “fun” is barely out of my mouth before it plops, sullenly and without pretense, to the floor.

The squat, bald man in my head can take no more, and from somewhere far to the back, near the id but really not that far from the escalator, I hear a door open.

“OK,” he shouts, “I can’t hang out here listening to this kind of drivel.  If you need me, I’ll be back here, setting fire to stuff.”

And the door slams shut. 



vanilla said...

Squat bald man or not, winter has certainly gotten into your head. Sure you don't want to take that sick day now?

Ponita in Real Life said...

I hear ya, Pearl. January, indeed. Only here, it's been December too. And I am not holding up much hope that February will be any better. This winter has been brutal! My down coat, that covers me to mid calf (and I am tall) has been shivering. Now that is disturbing!

A squat bald man? Really? I would have suspected a little imp with a malicious glint in its eye. But you can never tell with these things, can you?

Pearl said...

vanilla, I hang on to my sick days, projecting a glorious day that I will take off, oh, three months from now, one in which I will not be sick but only claim to be. Mwa ha ha ha haaaaaa!

Ponita, oh, yes. I know you understand. It was five below at the bus stop this morning. Now is that necessary, particularly given the cold snap we endured just weeks ago? Still, I love the seasons... I just keep saying that... (The squat bald man is there -- as is the imp. The imp, however, went to Texas for the winter, as he is smarter than the both of us!)

Shelly said...

I'm flapping my arms wildly, bat wings and all, shooing some sunshine and warmth up to you. And tell the squat bald man to get busy with some crunches.

Anonymous said...

-23C here this morning Pearlie...I think thats around -13F. I may have to do my coat up lol. The snow is glittering in the sun with little tracks all over it from squirrels and bunnies and such...lovely really. Yesterday we went out for lunch and the restaurant we went to had no heat..their furnace had died. Place was full of white haired people talking, laughing, eating lunch.
We Canadians are a hearty lot. Buck up girl.

Pearl said...

Shelly, I appreciate your efforts!! :-)

Delores, I think I would be more agreeable if it wasn't 49 degrees in the house right now. Still waiting for that furnace ductwork!! Tomorrow morning it will all happen, but holy cow, it's been one day short of a full week without a furnace!

Anonymous said...

Wow.....a whole week wearing your outside clothes inside and watching your breath form steam clouds. Yikes.

Jenny Woolf said...

Ooh, sounds as if that sick day shouldn't wait till March! I know how you feel, although thankfully the sun has been showing its face from time to time lately here.

Pearl said...

Delores, you got that right. :-)

Jenny, the sky is bright blue here today -- and it's six below right now. Winter is trying to lure us outside and kill us.

Should Fish More said...

Sick day, eh? I vaguely remember those. I'd take one, but not sure who I'd call in to....maybe the bakery where I pick up my daily baguette, see if they deliver.

Be the winter, young lady. Warts and all, it really loves you. Really.

Now I have to find my shoes, I had them just the other day.

jenny_o said...

This writing is to love.

I'm not loving that your furnace is still out and that it's freakin' cold, again, and that the little man in your head is being a pest. But I love your writing. You make winter better for the rest of us.

May your heat be on soon, may your weather moderate, may your little man singe his nose hairs with that fire he's setting and take a little trip somewhere away from your brain.

Geo. said...

Was it Freud who divided the psyche into Id and Escalator?

Douglas said...

Is being without heat in January in Minnesota comparable to having no AC in August in south Florida?

If so, you have my sympathies.

Pearl said...

Should Fish More, the longer the furnace is out, the more "one" I become with winter. :-)

jenny_o, I love you.

Geo, :-) You are correct, sir.

Douglas, o, your cruelty knows no bounds does it, taunting me with your southern warmth...

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Meanwhile, I am still waiting for what these Scots relatives keep telling me is winter... the wee baldy bloke on the telly is aye shouting about snow, but I have yet to lay eyes upon some... and today the sun was warm. I opened windows.

In January. I've been conned!! YAM xx

Mr. Charleston said...

You obviously need to change you late night toddy. This one ain't working for you. Squat bald man indeed.

Nessa Locke said...

I love your conversations. It reminds me of one I may or may not have had with a customer the other day.
She looks at me and says, "She's making cookies."
okay, I say.
"She needs a cookie pump," she says.
aha, I say.
"She wants to know where the cookie pump aisle is."
good question.

ellen abbott said...

I did, in fact, take a nun scheduled day off today for much the same reason.

Leenie B said...

Ha! Now the squat, bald man has gone back to his room you can at least troll the Caribbean web sites without him breathing cigarette breath over your shoulder. Good riddance, I say.

I'm thinking this Arctic weather can only last so long. It's always gone away before----hasn't it???

Jayne Martin said...

Love this. Another little bit of genius that could only come from you. :) I always know that my time here will be well-spent.

Gigi said...

Hang on to that sick day - who the hell wants to take a day off to sit in a house that has no heat?!

Daisy said...

I'd be warming my hands over those fires the bald man is starting. :D

I'm so sick of winter, and I'm sure it is worse there where you are than here. I'm too old for this nonsense. A retirement home in the south sounds better every day.

Launna said...

My winters are not as cold as you have had and I am completely sick of it... I miss clear sidewalks and warm evenings where I could have a tank top and a light pair of yoga pants on... :)

sage said...

We in MI wish you'd keep your MN winters over there!

HermanTurnip said...

Ya know, I can't tell you how happy I am to have a job where personal days off are expected and encouraged. I feel so lucky...

Jen said...

Thanks for bringing back the bald fat man.

BECKY said...

Oh Pearl, where the heck have I been?? You may have wondered the same thing, or you may not even remember who I am, since it's been so long since I stopped by. And I can't even say why....other than, mea culpa, because I don't make it around to many blogs at all, the bad bloggy friend that I am. This post is, as yours always are, brilliant! And OMG, I know it's worse there in Minnesota, but it's also DANG cold here in Missouri...sometimes referred to as "Misery." Out of all the comments left for you, my favorite is Mr. Charleston's! LOL

River said...

Your January sounds as blah as my February. That's when we usually get our humidity and I cannot. stand. it!!
That little man is very rude smoking in your head like that.
Take the sick day, you can have another one in March.

Mitchell is Moving said...

The most perfect description of January in a Midwestern city. But, I'd listen to the fat man: "You've planned... a sick —"

Indigo Roth said...

Good grief, I think I'm related to that guy!