the mysteries of winter

Please join me as I ponder a few imponderables in the midst of this late-winter mush we now call March.

1) Why do people Park Stupid? You know what I mean: I mean pulling up parallel on snowy streets, leaving two feet between their car and massive frozen dirty snowbanks — DIRECTLY OPPOSITE another parked car. Leaving an approximate width of, oh, six to eight inches for the passage of other vehicles. WHY do people do this?

2) Is this the reason for all the people driving backwards on one-way streets?

3)  Why do we in the snow belt take such pride in being miserable for five months out of the year?

4) Why do we keep saying spring begins in March, WHEN WE KNOW IT DOESN’T?

5) This from my childhood on a lake; I was reminded of it while driving through New Hampshire a couple weeks back. How do ice-fishermen fish on ice too to thin for everyone else and not fall in? Do they weigh less than normal people? Do they eat only the fish they catch?

6) Why DO people Park Stupid? Do they not like their side mirrors?

7) This from Washington, D.C., last week, where I observed two separate drivers who, trying to liberate their cars from ice, cluelessly and repeatedly gunned their engines and spun their wheels in an effort to get out, a futile effort that yielded nothing but that familiar frictional RRRWEEEEEEEEEEEEE of desperation. My question: Why, in an effort to help, did I embarrass my offspring by yelling: STOP! I’M FROM ALBANY, NEW YORK! PUT DOWN A BOARD! OR KITTY LITTER! OR SAND OR SOMETHING! If I had hailed from some town in Norway, would I have said STOP! I’M FROM LONGYEARBYEN!

8) Why do people cut me off in crappy snowy slushy icy weather, behaving as though I have the ability to, like, brake?

9) Why does winter insist on being so beautiful?

10) Why does the moon insist on shining so brightly?

11) What is it about shoveling after a snowstorm make us so damned cheerful?

12) Are we all on drugs?

13) Why were the birds singing so gloriously that morning last week when the temperature was around 80 below? Were they on drugs, too? My friend Steve Barnes called their tweeting “chirps of death.” Is he right?

14) Can I stop complaining, now?

15) Can I please stop being cold?

16) Can I please stop wearing long underwear?

17) Will spring ever come?

18) Really?

19) When?

5 thoughts on “the mysteries of winter

  1. My sentiments exactly. In the western cities of the state, the folks in charge out there are smart enough to incorporate the “winter parking rules” basically being….there is only parking on one side of the street from mid-November until mid-March or April. If there’s need for a snow emergency, they declare it and folks move their cars accordingly. Is there any logical reason this can’t be done in our city? Living on a narrow one way street and constantly NOT being able to get down it for five months sucks a big one.

  2. No answers here, but when I lived in Wisconsin the line was always that ice fishing season ends when the second fisherman falls through. The first one might be a fluke.

    Your essay brings back memories of walking around Madison’s Lake Mendota in shirtsleeves on an unseasonably warm day and seeing ice fishermen on little floes of ice with open water around them. I wondered how the heck they got out there and back, but never considered why they didn’t fall in. They definitely didn’t LOOK smaller than other people. Just the opposite. Hmm.

  3. 1. the same reason why people stand opposite each other in the front of the bus 2. no, they think driving around the block takes too long 3. ego -“I’m a survivor!” 4. Actually, it’s some meteorlogical thing. 6. So their passengers can get out 8. because they are stupid 9. same reason babies are beautiful – so you tolerate them 10. messing with your heart 11. it’s sometimes a community thing – all in it together 12 well, I am, but I’m ill 13. birds see into the future 14. you could, but the column would be too short 15. soon. really soon 16-19 ditto

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