For my inaugural posting, I’m going to discuss the weather. Isn’t that the point of diaries and logbooks? It used to be.
This winter, we’ve had three or four (depending on your region) severe winter storms, each of which resulted in 7+ inches of snow, subzero temperatures, gusts of polar wind and the like. It was a winter so cold that parasitic beetles in Minnesota all froze to death beneath the oak bark, and for a weekend people were living like it was Antarctica. These winter storms are called ‘polar vortices’ send huge gusts of cold wind as far south as Atlanta; and for the past decade in the South, it has hardly ever snowed and stuck. You’ll recall how recently in Atlanta is snowed two inches, and children were stuck at school for the entire night; which would be nightmarish if I didn’t know how crazy kids in the South are about snow, which almost always predicts a snow day or a delayed opening, you spend those two hours rolling around in the snow, making snowmen, trying to get the experience of snow into yourself while it was there for the having. Kids in the South have a notion of snow like the Japanese have a notion of watching cherry-trees bloom; get outdoors and enjoy the beauty before it’s faded away into time. Even now, in New York, the sight of snow falling is so pleasing and beautiful I get a little giddy to see it, and find myself watching it for hours. I can recall one storm in North Carolina that created as much snow accumulation as I’ve seen on three separate occasions this winter, the last time, in an Amtrak train bound to New York, car vestibules caked with snow on the inside like I was riding the Polar Express. As I was nearing New York I struck up a conversation with John, my fellow passenger; he was heading to North Jersey from Florida to meet with his parole officer. An hour into our conversation I noticed he had an ‘SS’ tattooed on his hand, an inconspicous S on each his index and middle finger, not because he was racist, he assured me, but as a memento from his two-year prison stint. But I digress.
Snow will be upon the city in some eight or nine hours, and I would suggest that you:
1. Park your car in a covered garage (if you have one or both of those things.) I have been watching people on Hillside Avenue park their cars in curbside parking that look like ski moguls in Sochi, flipping and flopping their SUVs all over the place, knowing that they’re going to be buried in another 16 inches of ploughed snow by tomorrow; do not engage in this false economy. Your ride will be looking like a damn iceberg. I would say the damage to the car paint from salt and sand and the labor of having to dig it back out would not be worth it. If you don’t live in a place where parking is incredibly hard to find (like New York) consider parking your car under a highway overpass or covered bridge, where I’m sure it won’t get in anyone’s way.
2. Buy everything, now is an excellent time to stock up on emergency reserves of groceries you never use and emergency liquor you hardly ever drink. Buy bottled water for no reason, five weeks worth of paper products, do your week’s grocery shopping, and fill the gas tank. Replenish the spam and canned beans in the fallout shelter and get a sack of limes so that you don’t get scurvy during your snowbound confinement. If you have Amazon Prime, order a backup generator, and if you don’t, well, you’re screwed, send your children outside to start gathering firewood before the first snowflakes hit the ground, or if you’re in Ireland, get a sack of coal from your local filling station (if you’re in the rural US, drive around the trailer parks until you find someone with firewood to sell. I’m sure whatever it costs, it’ll be a bargain compared to freezing to death in the incoming winter storm.)
3. If the storm won’t begin until early morning, as this one will, go out to eat and savor an extremely black-tie affair of a meal, like the protagonist from War of the Worlds did, and order your dessert first. You never know.
4. Learn a board game or card game to play if the power goes out. But if the power does not go out, surf the web like you always do and binge on streaming music, apps & videos.
5. IF THE POWER GOES OUT, you might be screwed. Buildings with radiators are 50/50, depending on the boiler and hot water pumps. At Sarah Lawrence, power outages meant heat outages, though hot water was still running, oddly. Internal campus emails implored students with electricity to take in those without, so if you’re in a similar situation, try and cadge a spot on your friend’s couch or head to a warming shelter; fortunately power outages in the city proper are uncommon because of buried power lines. If you can use a proper fireplace, light fires; it doesn’t matter if the power’s out, it’s still pretty romantic unless the flue is shut or you suck at building fires.
6. IF THE POWER GOES OUT, I would not recommend using any kind of brazier in your house, modern homes don’t have that kind of drafty ventilation. If you feel dizzy, headachy, or drowsy while using your ill-advised brazier, extinguish it and leave for fresh air. Carbon monoxide poisoning is deadly.
7. IF THE POWER STAYS ON, check your email first thing and then call your hair salon. Sometimes they offer discounts on same-day services because of weather cancellations, and the stylists are already there so why not?
8. IF THE POWER STAYS ON, do NOT order anything from Seamless, it seems callous to the delivery men. I would call, but if you have to order delivery, tip more than usual for the weather, it blows out there.
9. IF THE POWER STAYS ON, BUT THE INTERNET DOES NOT, don’t call the cable company. They will be rolling around in the snow like snow-drunk 3rd graders from Atlanta, blissfully making snowmen at an afterschool that lasts till the next school day. Meanwhile, hundreds of Atlanta parents consider boarding school for their children.
10. Once the snow falls, if you have a porch, use a snow shovel to build up blocks of snow. You can make benches if you get sufficient accumulation.
On a slightly sadder note, I was supposed to be travelling today, and over Valentine’s, but that’s all been cancelled due to inclement weather. If I had just departed a day or two sooner… well. We always won’t have New Orleans, I guess, won’t we, REDACTED?
That’s it for tonight, folks. With love & as always…