Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Only Voice of Reason in a Cold, Cruel World

As has been mentioned before, I’m not a fan of winter. The darker days and colder temperatures leave me feeling depressed and apathetic. Usually, nothing sounds fun anymore from November to March. This year, I haven’t had that problem. I’ve had a worse one: instead of being depressed over the winter, I’m mad about it.

The day after the snow storm, I worked the circulation desk in the empty library, huddled over a space heater, wearing six layers of clothing, fuming over the knowledge that every patron who came in that day – all ten of them – was cog’s-loose crazy. No one would be out in this weather unless they were crazy.

Every time someone called and asked, “Are you open?” I responded with, “No, sir. This is a recording.” Then I laughed maniacally for several minutes. Of course we’re not open. I’m just sitting here answering the phone. These calls continued for the rest of the week.

The temperature has scarcely risen above ten degrees and I have become more than a little bitter.

Yet I still have to go out in it.

There’s snow all over the fields and the houses and the roads. I’m blinded by the glittering whiteness, wearing sunglasses indoors like a crack-addled movie star, hissing like Nosferatu as the sun’s reflected rays provide no warmth. I’m eating nourishing soups two meals out of three (and often hot cereal for the third) although I am not a fan of soup, nourishing or otherwise.

Yet I still have to go out in it.

I bundle up, so many bundles I can hardly move, clothes that are uncomfortable and itchy, that no one should ever have to wear, layers that don’t match, sweaters that look ridiculous (layered under a near fifty pound coat made of the skin and fur of actual dead animals). I remove the extra clothes at my destination – a process taking decades! – and I don them all once more when I leave. My feet are always cold and usually wet because my unattractive snow boots, while great for providing traction on icy walkways and clashing with all my other clothes, are crap at keeping the snow out of my triple layered fluffy socks.

Yet I still have to go out in it.


Because the library is still open.


Because people are still stopping by.

While they’re out.

Doing other things at other places that are also open.

And why are those places open?

To accommodate all the people stopping by.

Do you see the pattern here?

And I ask you all now, what are we all thinking?

What if we all just closed and stayed home?

The library, the bank, the grocery store, the schools, the department stores: What in God’s name are we doing open? Do you see that snow?

People don’t need to go to the library when it’s ten degrees outside and there’s snow all over the ground. They aren’t going to have a book emergency. If you don’t have a pile of unread books that you just haven’t got around to yet on an end table somewhere, you have failed as a human being.

People don’t need to go to the grocery store when the roads are icy and their tires are bad. They need to stay home and cook the stuff in their pantries. If you don’t have stuff in your pantry, what is wrong with you? Don’t you hear the news? Meteorologists were talking up this snow storm for more than a week! They’re fricking psychic up in that news station and you are the only moron in the world who didn’t listen to their prophetic mumblings. You deserve your fate.

People don’t need to go to the bank. Money is not an object right now. Let’s all agree to a pecuniary freeze: for the duration of the snow storm, no money is going anywhere in any direction to anyone and you should be neither earning nor spending. All the stores can stay closed and the workers can stay home, then other businesses can do likewise, and then larger corporations, in a sort of trickle-down event like our politicians are always promising us but never delivering.

Every day as I go out in the cold and the snow, I get angrier. Other people insist on going places and doing things and making plans – What are all these people doing out of bed, let alone out of their warm homes? What is so important that it’s worth braving this weather? Can’t it wait until spring?

Seriously, people. Just stay home.

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