Doubling down on cold-weather columns

IMG_8952So we got hit with a blizzard this week. That was fun.

I’d intended to write a separate blog post about it, but then it’d reveal to my bosses that I had *gasp* a couple of beers while I worked from home that night. Shit, did I just do that anyway?

I I ended up waxing a little more nostalgic about it in the paper, and it came out kinda nicely, even though I really didn’t want to go down the “writing about snow” route two columns in a row.

BEHOLD: Baby’s first blizzard.

Take a Walkabout back in time with me today, if you will.

It’s 1990. A five-year-old boy with sandy hair is finishing up a hard day’s work at preschool. As his mother arrives to collect him, his classmates yell, without malice, “Bye, O.G.!”

Perplexed, and knowing her kid’s initials don’t include either of those letters, the mother turns to the teacher and asks, “Why do they call him O.G.?”

“Well,” the teacher replied, tongue presumably firmly in cheek, “every time we play outside on the grass, and we tell the kids to take their shoes off and go barefoot, he gets this nervous look on his face and exclaims, ‘oh, GEE.’ He doesn’t seem to like being barefoot; the grass hurts his feet.”

In case you hadn’t figured it out, patient reader, that precocious little boy was yours truly. And you can believe that my mother has regaled family members, friends and new girlfriends alike with that story for as long as I can remember. For the latter, I’ve started telling it early on in the piece so I can mitigate the embarrassment and hopefully win some points for once being adorable.

That nervous-little-boy look reappeared on Tuesday, evidently, and it was my better half that pointed it out.

The Portland Press Herald’s Edward D. Murphy wrote a story Wednesday about the contents of Mainers’ survival kits for storms: bottled water, a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk, and inedible items such as rock salt and batteries. I wish he’d written it a week ago.

I’d never seen a blizzard. I’d never seen what a foot of snow looked like. In my mind, “a foot of snow” was coming from the same school of measurement as NBA players’ listed heights do. I’d always heard Michael Jordan was listed at 6-foot-6-inches, but stood shorter than that. And that’s how I expected 12 inches of snow to look, too.

For that reason, I came into Tuesday’s “weather event” wholly unprepared. I bought pasta, chicken and mushrooms, and a bottle of whiskey, at the grocery store on my way home from work Monday, figuring I’d work out Tuesday’s meals on Tuesday. “How bad could it possibly be?” I reasoned. “I only live a mile from the store, and that’s not so far to drive…”

If you ever run into me this winter, feel free to call me an idiot. I earned it.

The girlfriend and her dog, my two overnight guests Monday, were incredulous that I’d only planned as far ahead as dinner. I remained mostly confident that I’d be able to make it to Western Avenue the following day. This was decidedly not the case.

We were consigned to the fact that we’d have to brave the elements to get some sort of supplies, since I wasn’t going to go all the way in to the office out of concern for my life. We were standing in my kitchen around noon, both dancing to an unheard tune as we tried to restart the blood flow to our lower limbs. I had roughly a pound of snow clinging to my calves and shins, while my partner in crime had had the foresight to wear long socks.

We’d only been outside for five minutes, and I was wearing gym shorts and waterproof boots, assuming that the task of “clearing the car off” would involve a couple of minutes of brushing snow off the windshields and perhaps a little bit of shoveling while the engine and the heated seats warmed up.

Instead, I’d found myself almost knee-deep in the powder, with the wind whipping stinging drifts at my exposed face and arms, and it wasn’t long before I retreated to the relative comfort of my kitchen.

As I sucked air through my teeth and moved around trying to stave off the cold, with premature thoughts of impending frostbite racing through my head, She (to steal J.P Devine’s use of the pronoun) said to me, “I can see that little boy’s face all over again.”

I valiantly tried again, in snow pants and a jacket, learning the technique of “rocking” my car to get it out of the buried driveway.

That little boy’s face appeared a couple of other times, as I skittishly turned my car out onto State Street headed to Hallowell, and then again as I turned off Water Street onto Central Street trying to get out of the way of the plow trucks rumbling by. The “O.G.” expression resurfaced then due to the fact that I a) could barely see past the hood of the car and b) had drifted into a four-foot snowbank.

We did indeed make it safely back to my apartment in Augusta, where we waited out the storm with Italian sandwiches, a Netflix marathon and plenty of staring out my living room window in complete awe.

I’ve said in this space on many occasions that I remain fascinated with winter weather, particularly the falling snow, and I’m as playful as a kid when it’s falling and I’m outside.

But despite learning all of these new meteorological terms – thunder snow, wintry mix, ice storm – over the past 14 months, nothing could have fully prepared me for the sheer ferocity of Mother Nature on Tuesday. The winds were like nothing I’d experienced before, and the volume of snow they dumped everywhere makes me wide-eyed and a little nervous, much like preschool-aged Adrian was

And alas, that’s what the blizzard of 2015 reduced me to. Just two weeks ago, in this very space, I broke my own self-promise not to write about the weather. More specifically, I wrote about how I felt like I was acclimatizing to the northeast’s frigid winters, and how this year had been much easier to cope with than this time last year was.

Central Maine, I apologize. Tuesday may have been my doing. I’ll be much more prepared next time.



One thought on “Doubling down on cold-weather columns

  1. Well i was fascinated, but would have liked more details, like, how loud was the wind, how far could you see. Like most aussies I have nothing to compare blizzards to. Big mystery, like cyclones, etc…we all love talking about the weather, like today was 35 in Melb ,we have had no summer till this weekend, like 20 to 23 each day, and Sydney has had rain every day

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