emma b. says

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Baby, It's Cold Outside

It's cold, and it doesn't get cold like this here, grey and liquid ghost-cold fog when the summer sun should be radiating we get, but not this, not this, skin parching insidious dry cold. None of us have the coats for it, and everyone looks up in collective marvel when the weathermen announce in various and moderated tones of bafflement that it is snowing in Marin, because snowing in Marin is someone else's highbrow fantasy, it certaintly doesn't factor into my commute. Nothing could startle us California drivers more than the onset of snow. Those of us who have nothing but a passing aquaintance with snow blindness and black ice.

When it gets cold like this I remember, I remember snow. And snow-powdery hijinks, and icy hijinks, and snowboots and shoveling the driveway, and most importantly turning into a swerve, long s curves down mountainsides, all the stupid jumps I took with the boys I never kissed, the satisfying crunch of fresh snow under my heel and the unpleasentness of scraping a windshield free of ice when you are already running late for school.

And I've said here before, but I'll say it again, but snow in the mountains tastes of pines needles, and the singular pleasure of recognition and the freeze of the present when you plunge an ungloved hand into a snow bank, so cold, feels so good, for the fractured second of disconnect, until you register pain, until the blood starts to dance again, until the altitude has leached all the moisture from any exposed flesh.

So I got hit tonight. I got sideswiped by a taxi, and I've got the stripe of desoto blue paint to prove it. I doubt that I have admitted it here, because I don't often offer this up at parties, but I am terrified of car accidents. I can hear the metal buckle and contort, I can hear the velocity of flesh and dashboard, and just how precisely it separates, and all of that unshatterable glass, sequins on pavement, to shred the soles of feet left bare in the aftermath, because somehow when the car rolled over you lost your shoes, it's a memory that I'd like to pretend was a nightmare, but it's real enough, somewhere in the south of France there is a girl who bears the traces of my recklessness across her face.

So when the cab nosed into my rear passenger side I stepped on the gas. And he raked my side, I pulled over and he drove away. My lovely little Elantra has been defiled. I was hit and run, now that I am home, I think I will get good and drunk if my endorphins will allow. Now that I am home, and running the super little gas heater that could, to lift the chill out of my bones, to dispell the chill from the air, because baby, it's cold outside. And it's just me and no engineer, and all of the cold bodies of memory pooling at my ankles, rising to the coffee table, spilling over the sofa, clotting in the bed skirts, threatening the sanctity of my sheets. So what can I do, battered and undone. I think I'll play a little polyphonic spree, because, hey, it's the sun, and it makes me shine, hey now, it's the sun and it makes me smile, all around, all around.... because I am on my way... buddadumpabump.


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