Thursday, January 08, 2009

When winter kicks your ass

Not anyone's idea of a good time: The gyro man across the street from my office was working under the hood of his cart last night in a cold, occasionally driving rain. At 2 in the morning. I noticed it only as I got into the car to head home and empathized with him. My thoughts shifted when I noticed the "miles remaining" reading on his dashboard read just 45 -- bet he was glad to be heading to New Jersey.

Winter rain sucks. I got home and stepped out of the car in front of the house, putting my foot down on the curb. And I almost bit it. My right foot slid a few inches on the slick coating of ice on the cement before I caught myself. I turned carefully and closed the door, then heard the crunch of the frozen grass as I gingerly walked over the sidewalk, up the steps and through the gate to our patio.

I've noticed that the gate tends to swing open in heavy winds. The shaking from the gusts must shake the two sides of the gate enough that the loose wooden latch no longer rests on the ledge that keeps it in place, then rotates down into an unsecure position, which allows the gate to swing open. But when it's really cold, the latch seems to tighten and not move so easily. And last night, it was frozen in place. When I touched the top of it to pull it open and enter, I felt the soft, smooth, cold cover of a thin sheet of ice.

I hoped the freezing rain would produce a crystalized wonderland in the morning, but temperatures rose just enough to make Wednesday nothing but cold and wet. The photographic opportunities of a frozen landscape would've been stellar, but there was nothing. So when I left for work, it was a miserable walk to the train. Snow can be a pain in the ass (or back, with the shoveling), but I'd still prefer it to a steady, all-day, sometimes driving rain that soaks you through and stays with you long after you've found cover (and even heat), because the cold wind ensures that the sodden feeling reaches down to the bone.

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