Inversion Blues

Cover Image

    There’s something about that coldness, the way it swoops off the mountains and settles into the valley. Sometimes in October, sometimes in November, the wind kicks up and the snow flies. It blows right through you and you wish there was a way to grow another layer of skin. You pull your jacket collar close around your neck, but it doesn’t matter. You wonder what your nose would look like with frostbite.

The dog doesn’t seem to mind. She bounds out the front door. She runs and jumps and paws at the ground. Back inside, you bite your lip and worry that her feet will freeze. When she finally comes in, you chase her around the house with the hairdryer, with towels.

You start swapping stories with people at work about falling. Your butt hurts, your hip. Someone’s mom falls and breaks out her front teeth. Your boss slips and shatters her left wrist. You (chasing the damn dog) slide off the bottom step and wind up with two cracked ribs. Right there you can say “goodbye” to coughing, sneezing, breathing too hard. Forget about laughing.

The inversion really settles in. The sun sets around 4:30, even without the cloud cover. The snow starts to look gray. You decide that you hate your next-door neighbor because of the shitty way he shovels his sidewalk. You buy a pineapple for way too much. It goes moldy before you have a chance to cut it up. You buy another one and the same thing happens.

Midwinter: In line at the grocery store, the woman behind you coughs on your hair. Disgruntled, you move away from her, but say nothing.

Late winter: In line at the grocery store, the woman behind you coughs on your back. You turn angrily and cough several times into her cart in an exaggerated manner. She moves over to the next line.

You promise yourself that, as soon as it thaws, you will cut back on drinking. An arctic front moves through in January and pretty much cancels your plans for New Years. You keep drinking. You think about taking up smoking again. All the thoughtless coughing ensures that you end up with a nasty cold. Thankfully, your ribs are mostly healed.

The days get little longer. The nights get shorter. The insomnia stays about the same. You finish reading all the items on your “important books” list. You put away a couple of bestsellers, too. You watch movies over and over. And reruns.

One day, there is a break in the persistent gray. The sun breaks through and is the most blinding thing you have ever seen. It’s so bright, your eyes start to water. You find yourself explaining what frost heaves are to your friends who live in warmer climates. You call them dirty names (in your head) when they complain about winter. You think, the ground isn’t even frozen where they are, they have no idea.

You look for apartments in L.A. and Austin and Las Vegas even though you have no means or desire to move. You take pictures of the giant icicles hanging from the rain gutters and send them to your friends who live in L.A. and Austin and Las Vegas. You tell your friends on coast that 50 degrees is “shorts weather.” You realize how stupid it sounds as soon as it leaves your mouth.

You notice buds on the trees when you walk the dog. You almost get hit with slush when a car drives by. You almost twist your ankle in another pothole as you cross the street.

And then it’s spring.

Created: Mar 03, 2011


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