chilling out, literally

It snowed overnight. The morning arrived overcast and bitterly cold; it was 25º with wind from the north blowing at 17 mph. The ‘Feels Like’ temperature was 12º, with the UV Index parked at a puny 1. There was no sunshine and very low daylight and absolutely no enthusiasm for the prevailing conditions. Being outdoors is misery.

My winter days follow a pattern born from long years of painful experience: I get up, put coffee on, get dressed in 80 pounds of clothes, take the dog outside, come back to hot, steaming coffee where I begin the slow return to room temperature. Oh, there are minor variations from time to time, but not often. There’s great comfort in routine and, in winter, I need all the comfort I can find. I seek it like an addict; it’s purely physical.

Today started off, at least, according to plan. The dog trotted out, she went to the bathroom, but I made no move to pick it up. She glanced at me in confusion. Still, I hesitated; I remained motionless in the sharp, brittle cold and stared at the dark mound on the white, white snow. In the silence a fierce debate broke out in my head: ‘I’m not picking that up. You have to. I don’t want to. Tough, pick it up. No. Don’t be a baby. I’m not a baby, you’re the baby …’

And so it went.

The sticking point, you see, was my gloves. They’re big and they’re warm and I didn’t want to take them off. I can’t pick up after the dog, though, if I’m wearing them. I need to stick a bare hand into a plastic bag, scoop up the pile, tie the bag, lift the lid of the garbage, and drop the bag inside. The whole time, my skin is exposed to the elements. Elements that force tears to my eyes; elements that make my nose run like Forrest Gump; elements that freeze my shoes and burn my skin. I loathe winter and the hard choices it presents, such as glove v frostbitten skin.

In the end, I did the grown-up thing: I removed one glove and fulfilled my end of the social contract. I was richly rewarded when I shoved my hand back into its winter quarters. A trace of body heat yet lingered therein and warmed my little hand as sweetly as a hug. My body nearly glowed in thanks. And that’s the lesson I learned: the tingling will stop eventually and full feeling will be restored by nightfall, but spending a weekend cringing in guilt-ridden shame from spineless behavior sucks the life right out of you. Try to avoid such a fate if you possibly can.

copyright © 2019 little ittys

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