Prelude to the deep freeze
I suppose in retrospect there were a few distinct signs I failed to notice.
It started with the sickness — some dark cloud of plague that drifted over campus, infecting all in its path. The halls, once filled with inquiring minds, were lined with the sick and feeble, and the parking lots were strewn with debris from the ongoing apocalypse.
At least that’s how I imagine it all went down.
In reality there’s a fairly decent chance that a small section of campus caught a cold that made my macroeconomics class sound like survivors of the Black Death. But from my perspective, holed up inside a blanket fort in my plague-ridden MAC apartment, it seemed as if the city had devolved into an infected wasteland overnight. That was the first sign.
Next came the chill. It crept up quietly at first, an occasional sharp breeze or a mysteriously heat-deficient car in the morning. But much like a looming tuition payment, one day it just became too worrisome to ignore: The cold was upon us.
There’s nothing worse than waking up sick, noticing that your room temperature is hovering around 50 degrees and then discovering you have no hot water. Granted, this may have a great deal to do with the contractors “working” right outside my window for the past five weeks — but if anything it just made the cold more noticeable.
Suddenly, before anyone had the time to take notice, everything started to happen all at once. Parking lots that had remained empty since last spring were suddenly full from morning to night. The sun began acting like a bipolar strobe light, inexplicably shifting from sunny and calm to freezing and miserable every five minutes or so.
Then, like a horde of drunken hockey fans, the geese descended upon campus claiming all unoccupied grass as their personal rest stop.
While I may have overstated the chaos during the time I was sick, there’s no questioning the mayhem now that all of campus is soaking wet and filled to the brim with goose poop. When your daily journey to class consists of playing hopscotch to avoid possibly infecting your Converse with the goose version of avian flu, you know you’ve made some poor decisions in life.
The final straw, however, was the realization that I had no choice but to enter the abyss that is my backseat to find an ice scraper for my windows.
An ice scraper. In September.
“But wait,” you say as you read this column with a growing sense of dread, “how can you complain about the snow when it melted off in under a day? Shouldn’t we be grateful that we still have leaves and whatnot?”
(Note: In my head all of you speak with exaggerated British accents like Mrs. Doubtfire. Make sure you convey that when you read my column aloud to strangers at the bus stop.)
Sure, I guess we could all be optimists and focus on the few bits of summer that haven’t been utterly destroyed yet, but isn’t that logic a little misguided? It would be like if your favorite dog died unexpectedly, but you tried to be upbeat and appreciative that you still had tons of dog food left. Sometimes focusing on the good and holding on to blind optimism just isn’t as comforting as you hoped it would be.
Even now as I’m busy finishing this column and neglecting my actual homework — which apparently requires me to be proficient in calculus to complete — I can feel the wind start to grow in preparation for the annual wind apocalypse.
So prepare yourselves for the inevitable. Stock up on fruit cups and applesauce so you can still feed yourself when the power outages turn your microwave into an expensive paperweight, and be sure to keep your beer in a place you can stumble across in the dark.
Despite my best attempts at denial, my refusal to fill my car with cold weather supplies and the fact that it’s been only five months since the last snow, winter is coming. You can be as optimistic as you want, but at the end of the day we’re all still living on borrowed time. Whether we like it or not, the chance of getting more than a few minutes of sunshine for the next seven months are about as high as the probability of graduating with a liberal arts degree and working somewhere that doesn’t serve coffee.
So enjoy the last remnants of fall until midterms hit. Savor the freedom to walk to class while you still can. Do everything you can to get outside before the chill. But no matter what you do, winter is just about here. It’s about time we all got ready for it.