The temperature has been in the low single digits since the early morning hours. As I venture outside, everything is gray and lifeless. The brightest and most vibrant objects in this glum portrait of a day are the snowflakes. They dance; they flicker; they undulate, glistening midair in balletic flourishes, descending hesitantly to the ground, and then scattering back into the winds as they land. One of nature's cryptic metaphors? Perhaps, but who's to say? As my eyes take stock of the world around me, I find that I am surrounded on all sides by death and decay. Time has stripped the deciduous trees of their once vibrant autumn leaves, which have long since abandoned the branches to be raked up and wither into mulch. Juxtaposed against these, every block or so, are the evergreens, which seem at once to mock proudly their barren counterparts, and also to weep quietly in sullen isolation. The sod has become a hazy yellow which resembles straw, brittle in texture, and browning toward the roots. Within this morbid scenery, I understand that in only a few hours, I could just as easily succumb to the forces of nature which brought it about and become but another mere instance of it. A true illustration of the philosophical doctrine of sublimity. As soon as the sting of the cold makes contact with the skin, the brain kicks into survival mode. “I must escape this.” Nothing could possibly be more important. The leisure with which the homeward journey is usually pursued is completely abandoned. Only urgency remains:
GET IN CAR
STOP AT SIGN
“YOU'RE STOPPING, TOO?
“TOO BAD; TOO SLOW;
“TOO. *******. COLD.
“I. GO. FIRST.”
“HEATER'S NOT WORKING??!?!?!”
BANG ON DASHBOARD LIKE CHILD MID-TANTRUM
“HEATER IS WORKING?!?!?!?!”
HANDS IN FRONT OF WARM VENTS
“WINTER'S FORBIDDEN FRUIT!!!!!!!!”
“****, NOW IT'S COLD AGAIN?!?!?!
“TURN. THE VENTS. OFF.”
“WHY EVEN HAVE A HEATER
“IF IT ONLY WORKS FOR 30 SEC-”
“WHY ARE YOU STOPPING?!?!?!
THE ******* LIGHT IS
LOOK OVER LEFT SHOULDER
“NOPE, I'LL DIE:
“NOPE, I'LL DIE:
“NOPE, I'LL DIE:
“NOPE... WAIT, THERE'S MY IN!!!!!!
“FINALLY, A STRAIGHTAWAY!!!!!!”
“THE SNOW'S NOT STICKING,
I CAN GO FASTER THAN THIS. NO COP WOULD DARE PULL ME OVER IN THIS ****...
Well, maybe a sadomasochist on some “sir, please step out of the car” type ****, but I don't see one, anyhow.”
Okay, getting closer now. Can almost feel the loving protection of the stately brick walls, the roaring furnace, the tenacious water heater. Just another mile...
Up the hill- left turn- right turn- pull up- park. “Oh boy, here we go again”
*Rigorously examine pockets and center console to be sure nothing is accidentally left behind
Car door opens
I reach the door, shivering like a frightened Chihuahua, hands palsied with cold as I fumble desperately for my key and struggle in the darkness to find the lock. “Click” GOT IT!!!!!!! I turn the key and push the door, but experience resistance due to the towel placed underneath to prevent the draft from coming in. I heave with all my weight and the door budges as I violently stagger into my humble domicile. I make my way into my room to find my cats sleeping intently on my bed. One of them looks up at me like “What's your deal?” Oh, Dante, if only you knew.
I've been reading a lot of Pynchon lately. I like the sort of stream of consciousness prose he launches into sometimes, and decided to tinker with it in my daily writing practice.
I imported this from my word processor, and the HP algo ****** the entire original formatting up; so I hope you'll forgive some of the aesthetic deficiencies.