I walked home from Mer's place this morning without my mittens and after about five minutes I was convinced one of my fingers might fall off from the cold. It was a genuine concern. To combat this, I shoved my hands into the pockets of my jeans.
No good. The thumbs were still out and still freezing. Need my thumbs. How else would I make hang ten symbols or hit the space bar when I type?
Next I tried cupping my hands and blowing into them as fast as I could without stopping. I figured a constant supply of heat would balance out the ridiculously cold weather. This was a good thought but ruined after a few blocks when I started to get dizzy.
I then tried a combo platter of rubbing my hands together, blowing when I felt like I could, pockets, and tae-bo punching moves to keep the circulation going. I don't have to tell you what this looked like, but it's interesting to note that one man crossed to the other sidewalk to stay away from me.
With no other options, I unzipped my jacket enough so I could hold my hands near my armpits, Mary Katherine Gallagher style. Pressing my arms close to my body to try to warm up my little fingers, I ran the rest of the way home. If you have the chance, try to run with your hands in your armpits. It's not easy.
Anyway, when I got home I checked weather.com to see how cold it was outside and it said zero degrees.
Then in a smaller font, feels like -20.
Can we all come together on the "feels like" temperature thing? If it FEELS LIKE negative 20 degrees, then you know what? It's twenty below. That's like a store trying to sell a cashmere sweater that feels like polyester. If it's itchy and rough, that's what it is. You can't call it cashmere and say, "feels like polyester." Why are we still stuck on the two temperatures thing? No one ever remembers the actual temperature. On days like today all you ever hear is, "But it feels like..." Or, "Yeah but with the wind chill...." Or, "Hey, can I put my fingers in your armpit so they don't fall off?"
Stuff like that.
I don't know if any of this makes sense. My head is defrosting.
Three things you should know about my father for the purposes of this post:
1) He loves to quote the movie Groundhog Day and whenever there is predicted snowfall, he will say, "There's talk of a blizzard." incessantly. I wish I could call him right now on internet speakerphone because I'm 100% positive that's how he would answer and I'd like for you to hear it.
2) He packs the car for road trips to NYC like he's traversing the Oregon Trail. Growing up, we would wait patiently in the car as he ran back to the garage numerous times for flashlights, work gloves, snowsuits (even in summer. not kidding.), atlases, tools, fire extinguishers, you name it. I can't remember a single road trip to my grandmother's house as a child that didn't involve being asked to rearrange suitcases so my father could pack extra produce to give away, multiple pair of work boots, and some oil filters. It only ever ended when my mother started screaming at him to stop and threatened to leave without him.
I'm convinced this is why I only ever travel with a carry-on.
3) Clearing snow is an art for him. Some people enjoy watercolors. My father plows the driveway.
Anyway, there's supposed to be a lot of snow headed our way and it reminded me of the huge snowfall over Christmas in NYC. The snow was so bad in Manhattan we were literally walking in the middle of the road because it was the only semi-clear path. In Queens, cars were buried under six feet of snow thanks to the plows. It took some people hours to dig out. When my parents came in from my grandma's house on Long Island, I worried about how long it might take my dad to find a spot, but not that he would have trouble digging out. Digging out a parking spot buried in snow is sort of the only thing he's been packing for his entire life.
So you can imagine my shock when he arrived at Sabrina's and asked for a shovel. It was sort of like my father driving to NYC with only three tires on the car. I couldn't actually believe it. He immediately started panicking, believing that every shovel in Queens would have already been sold. Hauling off to find an open hardware store and a snow shovel, Nessa captured his success.
The way she tells it, my father jumped through the snow piles outside of the hardware store, walked into the street and yelled for Ness to take a picture of him with his shovel. Holding up traffic by extending his arm in the air, cars beeped at him as he smiled, gleefully holding his new purchase, saying, "Thank you! Thank you!" Nessa said she had to ask him to get out of the road.
They dug out a spot in no time and my father refused to move the car until they left a few days later.
Anyway, all this talk about a big storm made me think of it.
Buy a shovel now. Stay out of the road when you do.
Jessica Martin grew up on her family’s farm in Brockport, New York. She spent her formative years talking to herself in the mirror and memorizing lines from Full House episodes. She graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Television, Radio and Film and that proved to be worthwhile in that she still enjoys all of those things. After living in San Francisco, New York, and Boston, Jessica has learned the importance of light layers, irony, and remembering how people take their coffee.
A fortune cookie once told her that she finds beauty in ordinary things, and she liked this. But then another fortune cookie told her that she liked horse racing and gambling, but not to excess, so she’s not entirely sure what to believe. She sort of thinks fortune cookies should stop pretending they know her so well.
Open-Eyed Sneeze is her first book.