Hey, everyone! First, before I begin, check your fingers and toes. Still there? All of them? Count, I’ll wait. We’re all good? The deep freeze of last week hasn’t done any permanent damage? Physically, I mean. The Polar Vortex did a number on poor Madison last week, and as we emerge from our cocoons to cold-but-not-death-bringing-cold weather, I just wanted to muse a little bit about what I thought about during the sub zero weather of the first week of January. I feel like it was a very strange and melancholy way to start the year, and wonder if y’all feel the same. I feel like we lost an entire week to the cold, and are just now tiptoeing outside to a new year.
As we huddled around the fireplace, or space heater, or whatever you used to keep warm, what did you do? Did you spend some quality time with family? Did you read? Watch movies? Whine a lot? I did a lot of whining. Every conversation began the same way: “How are you?” “COLD, HOW DO YOU THINK I AM?!” So unbecoming. And yet I felt lucky in that I didn’t have to be outside for any amount of time during the deep freeze, and I kept thinking about the mail carriers and the food delivery people out there (You DID tip well when you ordered in last week, didn’t you? Oh good.) and I also thought about how we all seem to, at least here in Jersey, make an event out of a weather situation. I remember Hurricane Sandy so vividly, stuck at my parents’ house in Morristown for two weeks with no power and nothing to do but read and wander the remains of the neighborhood, chatting with neighbors and looking with amazement at what Mother Nature can wrack on a simple Jersey block.
This was, of course, not a massive hurricane. Nor was it a weather event that could result in wandering the block, chatting people up. We were tucked inside in our pajamas (note to self: wash pajamas) for days, watching television, playing on the internet, enduring the siren song of children wailing “I’M SO BOOOOOOOOOORED” for hours on end. And who could blame them, really? Their holiday break was dropped right in the middle of the Antarctic, and no amount of holiday presents could appease them. These same children who have to be pried off the couch to go outside on a regular day were somehow now desperate to go outside and DO something. Fascinating.
Last week was strange. That’s what I really will take away from the whole thing. It was so strange, being told to stay inside, for the love of everything, STAY INSIDE because the outside will HURT YOU, made me yearn for outside. Even in winter, with the snow and the dead leaves still on the lawn, and 4 PM sunsets, I wanted to be outside, and that just wasn’t a possibility. When I did go outside, to scrape the snow off my car and go to work, all I could think about was getting from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. Today, driving home in glorious 24 degree weather, I did something that I would have prior to last week, thought to be madness. I opened my car window. Just a bit, to get the air into my lungs for the first time since before New Year’s Eve. I think we all need a little air, now that it won’t freeze in our lungs, and 2018 can really begin.
Happy Thawing, Everyone.