Day 7: Even the kids are sick of it. I haven’t seen a child frolic outside in days. They’re all inside, preying on their mothers’ weakened state. Rules, patience and sanity have been compromised from hours spent sorting mittens, rationing snacks and helping make 235 construction paper Valentines. Limits on video games and television were buried under the snow two feet ago. Grand Theft Auto? Sure! Real Housewives marathon? I’ll make popcorn!
I learned something about a Winter Wonderland: after a week it stinks. To think at first we were all taking pictures. What rubes. Who knew we’d have so much time to capture the wintry landscape? Heck, we had time to take online watercolor classes and paint it.
Any snowy images we didn’t witness ourselves were incessantly broadcast by local television stations. Meteorologists were stalking me. I’d have put a restraining order on Topper Shutt if the courts were open. The weather eclipsed every other news event. “D.C. bank robbed, wheelman stuck in 30 inches of snow.” “Dow falls, but not as much as this snow.” Aside: Do schools like “Cutie-Pie Unicorn ABC Daycare” and “Exceptionally Gifted Accelerated Learning Center” have such immense student populations that closings/delays require television announcements.
I spoke to a few friends about their housebound experience. Turned out we all had one thing in common: Snow detention unleashed our inner slob. I wore holes in my slipper socks and grew so close to my fluffy red bathrobe, I put it in my will (I left it a new pack of Kleenex pocket tissues). My friend Linda said that when her favorite plaid flannel pajama pants got ripe, she put on a clean sweatshirt. That way, she reasoned, her family would think she was wearing a new outfit. Sadly, she wondered why her son hiked more than an hour to meet a friend on U.S. 15 and her husband shoveled the driveway until 1 a.m.
By far, my friend Ann was the Snow Slob Queen. Not counting the 30 minutes it took her to drive her husband to work last Tuesday, she wore pajamas 72 hours straight. What shot Ann into royal slobdom was her admission that she didn’t take a shower in, “I don’t know, two ... three days. Why bother?” Ann doesn’t know it yet, but she’s been awarded the rusty slipper. Congratulations, Ann!
At least Ann was able to exercise with her Wii. As a matter of fact, she became so proficient she plans to be a professional gamer. She must be good if she can bowl in a robe. My muscles began to atrophy, despite several walks to the grocery store to gawk at looted aisles. I tried shoveling, but without the strength and reach of an orangutan, I couldn’t throw the snow over the five foot drifts straddling my driveway.
Snow confinement didn’t just cause my physical condition to decay. My mental capacity shriveled as boredom set in. I wasn’t able to get out until Day 5—I treated myself to a trip to Walmart. Linda swooned with envy when I told her. “What was it like?”
I was so desperate for entertainment, I began my tax return, darned my slipper socks, and prepared my darned tax return. One day I scraped soap scum off my shower floor, then shoveled out a clearing in the backyard to feed birds. It included a landing strip and tiny stairs for furry woodland creatures. Don’t think I didn’t hear the crows screeching, “Hey nutjob, just throw the bread!”
I wasn’t the only person one flake short of a snowball. My friend Rick sent this e-mail: “Overlook Hotel nice, but I swear I saw a little kid riding a Big Wheel in the hallway upstairs. What’s red rum, anyway? Maybe I’ll ask Lloyd the bartender.”
Someday I’ll look back at this and forget the slobdom and cabin fever. But I’ll never forget how beautiful it looked. After all, I’ll have my watercolor landscapes.
[February 17, 2010]
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