The snow was so high and stiffly packed that winter; it was impossible to trudge home from the train without collecting snowflake souvenirs in my boots every night. It was my first full year of living in Boston and the winter was kicking my tail. The sun was still setting at some obscenely early hour, and I was a desk jockey pulling long hours for little pay, so I basically never saw the sun or my boyfriend or my friends. Color me depressed.
I remember looking up and seeing a sign posted on a telephone pole that someone had Sharpied in black:
I’LL PAY YOU $10 TO DIG OUT MY CAR
I remember thinking how much would be reasonable to charge for someone to dig me out of my McJob life, to be perfectly dramatic.
My Boston comrades are still digging out of seven feet of snow. As is their trolley/subway system. New Englanders are bandying about phrases like “ice dam” which should only ever refer to a slip-n’-slide for penguins in the Arctic Circle. Their cabin fevers are spiking to epic highs. I mean–have you SEEN it up there? The whole situation is terribly unfair.
— Breaking News Feed (@PzFeed) February 15, 2015
We agree, you and I, don’t we? That the Nor-easters that keep dumping more snow on an already bewildered geography really smack of injustice and horror? We see the pictures of (or we experience firsthand) the shoveling and the roof-clearing and the endless headaches of commuting and we all are very much of one accord: That’s painful stuff. Nobody deserves that. I’m really sorry.
I’m guessing that neighborliness increases in these times, too. There’s a sort of camaraderie to picking up the shovels and knowing we’re all in this Us v. Winter thing together.
But we all know that eventually winter ends. The snow melts. The swan boats emerge in the Public Gardens once more. The solution to the winter problem is the reliability of the earth orbiting as it should around the sun.
I have to remind myself that the private pains people carry are very much like the seven feet of snow, only invisible. I have friends dealing with diabetes, cancer, the grief of losing a parent. I have students who are hungry, lonely, hyper-anxious. My husband treats clients whose secrets could ruin lives–are ruining lives. They are buried under heavy blankets of snow. The meteorologists can’t forecast what’s ahead. They are not sure when this winter will end.
I’ve lived through my share of winters, literal and figurative, and the invisible winters are always harder to weather. Friends, if you need someone to help you dig out, I hope someone you trust can be there. If you call me, I’ll probably send you links to cat videos on Youtube, but at least you’ll know you are loved and you can keep the $10.