The night; the night is never calm.
Another death of the weekend (In Michigan) and there’s been at least three feet of snow…and now there’s a nature-made snowfort in the backyard and you can’t see towards the bottom of the hill. And I could write pages about the snow, and I don’t mind it, but the problem is most people can’t stand it. This means there are bad drivers and mad people everywhere. Old man winter and goddamn winter wonderland and f-bomb this winter…are just a few of the common sayings that I get sick of hearing, and some people complain in the summer about the humid heat and then they loathe the dog days of winter so I’m not sure what they like, stagnation I suppose.
People do dishes a lot in the winter and another thing they do, is pace…and at night when the water is turned off and the squeaks are trimmed down to bearable, well what I’ve learned is that these winter days are good days for the writer, because you have to wait, and while you wait you can write and read and be alone.
Many abnormal psychological conditions have confronted the winter civilization, and anxiety is a problem of the modern world, and perhaps it has always been a constant in our society, you know, something like ol’ man river’s back pain that you learn to deal with, but technology and being young makes anxiety seem much worse than it actually is, but as you turn into Walden you come to terms with bullshit, and I don’t care…as much…for the fuss of closing doors and nails on feet, well not as much as I did, at least now that I’m getting older.
The other day I was driving in a downpour of a snow shower, flakes as big as quarters and cars flipped over and I really hope that guy wasn’t dead is something I thought. There was one cop on the road and I’m sure he deserves a raise, but so does the writer, and as I was trying my best to see I noticed that the two lanes shrink down to narrow-sized tunnels as you’re going forty-five miles an hour…when (during durations of these times) it’s as heavy as it was, and on the left side of me was a corporate branded cola truck with a European motor and it was doing just fine; the soda train was red and clean and it weaved over the yellow lines; the American tradition almost killed me… but hitting the pedal down to the bottom of the floor is what saved my life, and after I passed the truck I had a good laugh and the rest of the drive was a normal drive. There was a winter storm and that’s all, and well so what’s new, it’s the winter in the upper parts of the great USofA….so this comes with the territory, and besides…like I said, when it comes down to it I don’t care either way…but then…some drivers do care and they drive either too fast or too asshole-ish, and then there are those people in jeeps, and please note:
I don’t have a ton of empirical evidence to support what I’ve said and what (future talk) I may end up saying, but jeeps drive like they’re in a hurry to get back to war, and I was just about done with the drive and there were Semi-Trucks everywhere, and out of nowhere zap and right before the exit…there was a jeep…
It was the early night but you could still see the head-lights of the jeep going back and forth in the rearview and that’s when I blinked and got completely cut-off by the jeep that was going a good eighty-five miles an hour on powdered ice roads in a complete white-out, and no, it wasn’t very fun and it wasn’t a very good idea on the jeep’s part, but when the trucks saw what I did they collapsed and rolled slowly, and right when I thought something bad might happen I looked at the driver next to me and he grinned and let me move over…just far enough…so I didn’t have to turn the wheel…chancing my luck in becoming another flipped-over vehicle that’s down in the ditch waiting upside down harnessed in with a seatbelt still waiting to get to the bookstore.
One hour before they closed and I was editing smoothly in-the-zone and behind me was a book of essays by Henry D. Thoreau (which I need to read and if you click on the book cover after my words you can buy a copy from Yale University Press)…
The store was calm and minutes go by quickly when you edit. I got dropped off by a pal who had to get some food for their dog. “One hour” I said. “One hour and I’ll be back” they said.
I was ready to go as soon as the music in the bookstore went silent, and I finished the last paragraph of the third page and that’s when the intercom said “we’re closing now”. That was fifteen minutes early than the sign said, and by now the snow was still coming down like before, but only now the flakes were the size of baseballs, and I don’t know why this matters but the zipper on my coat broke and was in my pocket and the coffee was cold so I packed-up shop and waited in the entrance for my ride.
Seven degrees isn’t the kind of weather you want to hang out in (if you don’t have to) so I was standing there looking at a kid’s picture book; it was a biography of Henry Ford. It was a nice book and cheap but I didn’t need a picture book so I stopped looking at it. The parking lot in the front of the bookstore was empty and white-top not black-top like it usually is. There weren’t even any tire treads because the snow was fresh, and as I was standing there a guy walked up and said “just to let you know, were closed”. I said “when you lock the door you let me know and I’ll leave”…and right as these words were exchanged… a car pulled-in… but it wasn’t my ride… it was a lady and she was driving a jeep. Being nice I opened the door for her and she rushed into the bookstore and said… “I need this book real bad and that’s it. I’m SO SO SO sorry”.
Being alone in the entrance and waiting I was going to pull-out my notepad… and then I thought… no; I wasn’t going to write it down but I thought the whole thing was very circular and interesting and so on the way home after I got picked up I thought I’d type-up a page or two when I got home, just to do it… but back when I was still in the bookstore the lady with a huge hat and big glasses left. She was followed by the guy with the keys and I said “locking up shop now?” He said “yeah”… and so it goes…
The store closed down ten minutes early and this was typical. The biggest snowflakes of the season were falling and the jeep left the lot… and then so… that’s when I got the boot. It was cold out there but I had a good time in my head and what I didn’t know is that my ride was stuck in some snow-bank in suburbia or somewhere like that…
And so for an hour I waited outside of the bookstore looking at the nice glossy covers of the nicely printed old books. It wasn’t anything much…but a single experience of a single winter day. Freezing and reflecting … I laughed…because the last book of the night they sold to the lady in the jeep was, To Kill a Mockingbird.