[After the shovel and before the car door incident. Photo is mine.]
Once upon a time not so very long ago, there was a man who lived in a house, with his faithful and patient wife, in the Great Wilderness known as the Adirondack Mountains. These mountains are located in the far reaches of upstate New York.
This man was sore of back and gray of hair. He had recently spent five weeks in the high desert of California. He went there looking for solitude and warmth, but instead he found himself surround by neighbors with strange cars and small barking Chihuahuas. He also wore fleece nearly every day, until it was time to leave…of course.
The man’s eyes stung from the smoke of distant fires and he went through five and a half boxes of tissues, so frightful were his allergies.
Upon returning to his home in the North Country, there was a January thaw that put his limbs at risk with the ice and constant dripping of masses of snow that had recently befallen the countryside. Then two days ago, his weather app on his iPhone bespoke of a new storm that promised a foot of snow followed by thumb-numbing cold.
When this man awoke this morning, he put off looking out of the bedroom window for fear of what he would behold. But, he also had another app on his iPhone that told him how much daylight was left in the day. He checked the temperature. It was 4 F. He saw that 75% of the day had passed. He decided he should get out of bed and shovel a path to the car and clean the snow from the car and try to start the car.
The first two tasks were accomplished with sweat, frost on his mustache and a lower back that had pleaded with him to stop the punishment.
Now to start the car. But, alas, he found all four doors frozen shut. Not to worry, he thought. I have a can of de-icer in the garage. He pushed the button and the garage door creaked open. He found the de-icer and pushed the button to close the door. It didn’t move. He tried to spray the little button but nothing but a faint hiss came from the spray hole. He shook the can and determined it was full, but not a molecule of de-icer was to be found.
[The frozen car. Photo is unfortunately mine.]
He returned to the house with the spray can, but he was broken of heart and frustration welled up in his soul like a backed-up toilet.
Why have the gods of the North Country forsaken him? Why did he feel as alone as a Democrat in Mississippi or a Quaker at a Microsoft convention?
Why didn’t he stay in California and buy more tissue boxes? What had he done in this life or any other life to deserve such anguish?
He checked the weather app on his iPhone and saw that the forecast predicted a low of -22 F for the overnight hours.
The old man poured a cold beer and sat waiting for the bathtub to fill. He had added about two cups of blue crystals that promised muscle relaxation. (It never worked before, but tonight would be different).
But this man had a plan. He would build a fire in the downstairs stove and he and his wife would have a dinner of hot soup.
All will be well tomorrow, he thought. After all, tomorrow is another day.
He sipped his beer and considered how existentially alone one is in the Universe. Or, at least in the North Country.