Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Mother Nature's a teasing little bitch...

Everybody in Michigan by about mid-March is about ready to strangle themselves with the drawstring of their quintuple-insulated parkas. Even though this winter got a very late start, it doesn't change the fact that we have absolutely had it with the cold, slushy roads, and salt-covered everything casting a pale and morbid fog over everything we see. The worst part of March in Michigan is the annual Spring Tease – and here it is.

Yesterday, it was 72 degrees and sunny. Happens almost every year. Sometimes it'll even last a week or so, but then comes the bitter reality – Mother Nature's is a teasing little bitch. In the span of a day or 2, the temperature will drop about 30-40 degrees and we'll be stuck with what seems another interminable bout of winter, as if to say, "You dumbasses! You live in MICHGAN! You think you'll get off THAT easy?"

The worst part of it is when you just can't seem to enjoy the beauty of the tease, either because you can't fit it into the brief time given to the drop of idyllic weather, or because you know what's coming. Yesterday was one of my days working both jobs. I got to appreciate the weather for exactly 30 minutes – 5 minutes on the way to work, 5 minutes grabbing a pack of cloves, and 20 minutes going from one job to the next. The rest of the time I spent either in the dungeon-like, sunlight-deprived shop of Custom Music cleaning and servicing tubas, or behind the register at Blockbuster Video. Even worse was that I just couldn't seem to fully "get" that Spring Fever I so longed for and which should have been unavoidable.

Usually when the weather takes even the most brief turn from the deep-freeze, I get a touch of the spring fever. The smell of the ground thawing, the sound of the birds – hell, even the smell of diesel fumes can get to me on a day like that (you drum corps folks know what I mean). I get a cartoon-like lilt in my step and every breath I take is a deep, hearty gulp akin to drinking one's favorite beer from a never-ending, free tap.

I just couldn't get it, even in the brief time I had to nuzzle against Mother Nature's ample bosoms, because I made one, fatal mistake – I checked the forecast. Yup, by checking weatherbug, I found that Mother Nature's ample bosoms were nothing more than a Kleenex-stuffed bra, covering up the proverbial cold witch's tit: soft and warm perhaps, but not comforting. The next day would be 20 degrees colder, then another 10, then another 5…with snow. Ugh.

I suppose I shouldn't complain. I recall a winter about 13 years ago when the wind chill dipped to -52 degrees. Every major university in the Lower Peninsula closed for the first time in roughly 3 decades (except, of course, Wayne State – a commuter school, no less). This winter has been relatively quite mild, starting late and rarely hitting daytime highs below the teens. Still, I really only appreciate cold weather when it's accompanied by a good amount of snow on the ground, and only then around the Holidays. Come Valentine's Day, I need some sunshine, a nice long drive, and the radio blasting some classic rock with the windows down – preferably without my hands freezing to the steering wheel.

It will be over soon, I know. Old Man Winter is gasping his last breaths while he begs for mercy as Spring slowly increases her grip on his frail throat. Still, it can't come a minute too soon. I want to grab some Taco Bell, walk with Sonya and the kids to the park, and have a picnic as the kids play on the swings. I want to sit on the porch with Sonya, sipping a beer, listening to the kids giggling uncontrollably as they ride their bikes up and down the sidewalk. I want to drive with all the windows down, the radio up, and the scent of mud, lilacs and roses sweeping away the scent of salt and stale cigarette smoke from the interior of my car. I want that. I NEED that.

This tease of Spring tease we had makes me feel like a kid on Thanksgiving: getting a first taste of the holiday season, watching the Christmas parade, seeing the catalogs in the paper advertising the holiday wares, and staring down the barrel of Christmas, but not there yet. The anticipation is killing me, but I know it's coming – and soon.

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