“Where the hell is all the snow?”
This was my first thought upon touching down on the runway at 5 a.m. As I gingerly exited the plane I found myself shivering and mouthing the words, “Dear God, why?” quickly followed by some creative phrases that are unprintable in a wholesome-ish college newspaper.
You see, I’ve spent the last two weeks lounging on the beaches of Maui. Hawaii, for those of you who missed the memo, is a magical place filled with water, light, happiness and several other things rarely seen in Alaska.
Coincidentally it was also where the world’s greatest television show, “Lost,” was filmed. This is a fact that I subtly mentioned to my exasperated family no less than 42 times.
While most of Alaska was furiously chipping ice off of their turkey dinners, I was snorkeling with sea turtles and moray eels. Not a bad way to spend Thanksgiving.
But spending all of that time in a tropic paradise has made me question my decision to stay here. And by “question” I mean that I plan to run, screaming into the frigid night the first chance I get. I realize that in a previous column that I may have mentioned that the good parts of living in Alaska outweighed the bad. That was stupid and wrong. I have to assume that I was being held at gunpoint while writing that piece, and I’d like to take this time to hereby retract that statement.
So I’ve decided I hate it here. I hate the howling wind, the blistering cold, the injury-inducing darkness. I especially loathe that awful, icy tingling that accompanies venturing outside after forgetting to zip your fly. “Icy and refreshing” are great adjectives to describe toothpaste, not so much for the state of your engine room.
In fact, the entire concept of having to suffer nine months out of the year is completely backward to me. Our ancestors migrated thousands of miles with the sole purpose of avoiding scenarios such as this. But I like to think that we’ve evolved a bit since then; at the very least we should have learned to avoid climates that make us miserable.
My point is that Alaska is quickly losing the charm that its built up over the last twenty years. Sure, we get two whole weeks of summer and a brief spring haven for winter sports, but is it really worth suffering through the rest of the year? I mean, hell, this place doesn’t even have a Red Lobster!
And I understand that many of us stick around, mesmerized by the northern lights or the PFD money used to bribe us into staying here. But that’s just not enough for me anymore. I’m out. I’ll be spending the rest of my days on an island somewhere, searching for mysterious hatches and polar bears, hopefully whilst drinking pitchers of Red Stripe.
No more trudging back and forth through snow all day to get to my classes. No more confusing sunset with sunrise at 1 in the afternoon. Especially, no more waking up twenty minutes early to have time to painstakingly chip frost off your windshield to avoid hitting pedestrians. Granted, I have been known to sleep in and drive to class with my head out the window, but that’s beside the point.
So this is it, I’ve decided. I’m leaving the state. I don’t know how, when, or where to, and I damn sure don’t know how any of this fits with my life goals or academic career. But that Thanksgiving trip to Hawaii has completely convinced me of one thing:
I was never meant to leave. I have to go back.