mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cold and lonely: a winter rant

My boss is a boater, and last year discovered Facebook. Now he routinely updates his status to count how many more days it is until spring launch. I find myself checking his updates - not because I have any interest in boating (I can't swim and my skin burns at the mere mention of sun), but rather because I'm counting down the days until spring.

Over the last few years, I developed a deep-seated hatred of winter. The cold make my pale, thin nerdy skin crack and bleed. The cost of powering the heat pump that heats my house makes my electricity bills double or triple, despite the fact that I keep my house at a temperature low enough that visitors routinely ask to borrow a blanket. I have a horrible sense of balance, so I struggle to avoid falling on icy sidewalks. Dressing to keep warm means that my already less-than-toned physique starts to resemble that of a snowman, because nobody looks serious or fit in a puffy "bubblegoose" down jacket. Not wanting to go outside in the cold makes everyday tasks that I normally don't mind - taking out the trash or recycling, going to the store, gassing up the truck - turn into a dreaded, shiver-inducing hassle.

But beyond that, there is just something depressing about winter - a sadness that seems to come along with each gust of wind when I'm walking outside, that just seems to accentuate the loneliness and uncertainty and unhappiness I feel about my life. On a warm sunny day, you feel like everything is right with the world, even when it's not - but on a windy, cloudy, bitterly cold day, it's hard to feel anything but alone and sad.

Maybe part of it is that cold weather always reminds me that I'm getting older. This week, I had two snow days off from work. I actually don't normally like snow days, because it always seems to screw up my schedule and projects at work, but these were actually not too badly timed, coming right before the start of the labor-intensive phase of a major project. But what did I do with my snow days - play in the snow, build a snowman (or snow-person for the more politically correct), go sledding?

Nope. I did a load of laundry, did my taxes, sorted through some hamfest inventory, wrote some descriptions and took and edited some pictures for some stuff I need to list on eBay, baked a batch of cookies (using leftover Christmas ingredients, including a bag of red and green M&M's), paid some bills, and shoveled my sidewalk and cleaned off my truck - twice. Essentially, I did a lot of the stuff I would normally do on a weekend, which proves how lame my weekends are. It was useful, in that since I couldn't travel anywhere it forced me to get things done at home that I would normally put off, but it wasn't exactly enjoyable.

About the only good thing about winter - with the exception of snow days and Peppermint Mochas from Starbucks - is that it makes you look forward to spring and summer and appreciate it more when it comes. I remember stepping out of my truck a few month ago on a hot summer day and looking at the fire lane in the parking lot of my townhouse complex, and thinking that it was hard to believe that a few months earlier, after the "snowmeggedon" snowstorms we had, that it was filled with a giant pile of snow several feet high and wide. Now it's once again full of snow, although not quite so much this time, and the only silver lining is there will come a time in month or two when it won't be for a while.


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