For the last the twenty or so years I've been a resident of what I've often called, and for good reason, The Godforsaken State. It's possible that I've become the victim of my own joke; I fear the 'godforsakenness' of the place is beginning to rub off. According to the Farmers' Almanac, upon which one supposes farmers rely, this was supposed to be a mild winter. So fire those guys, and fire that ridiculous groundhog while you're at it. Because I've never seen a winter that felt this long, this arduous, this incessantly and monotonously white. Not chic white, not White House White, not the white of innocence and purity that lifts the spirit, feeds the soul during, say, meditation. It's flat out Madhouse White. Cabin Fever White. There Will Never Be Anything But This White. Ben Moore, a company known for serious color naming, might call it DefCon Four Threat Get The Fuck Outta There White – or maybe a shorter name, but you get the idea.
I came downstairs this morning and, glancing out the window as I do each day on my way to tea, could not see a single shadow anywhere, so devoid of contour had last night's additional few inches left the distinctions between everything, the walkway, the drive, the steps, the five foot high white behemoth piled against the window by the front porch. Just white, no distinguishing lines of any kind except up in the tree limbs, but nothing nada on the ground... just vast unending two dimensional white. Trippy White. Down the Rabbit Hole White.
There's an unparallelled beauty and stillness in serious snow, but enough is enough. The thermometer has hovered twixt -5 and 20 for days. Too cold to walk. Ordinarily we get a nice February thaw, say, a few days in the high 30s when lots of snow melts, to get us through, give us hope. It has snowed nearly every day for the last month or so. No melting has occurred. Just lotsa grey skies. Sadly, this weather pattern and the forecast that it's likely to continue leave one too listless to even plan a getaway to a warm beach, much less actually get there. It leaves one a bit tetchy, as they say, whoever they are.. lingering .. out there.. in the white... Contact with the real world diminishes slowly, an aperture closing as the inches pile up, despite the reliability of the plow guy, who, he announced yesterday, may be taking off for a week of skiiing!? Whither then, Plow Guy? And leave your loyal, grateful clientele trapped here for a quick schuss? The very thought scares the pants off me, the pants I would put on in the event I were to leave the house; no, I've not sunk to the level of wearing these sweatpants to the grocery store.... yet. But I've missed appointments, more than one tennis game, trips to the gym (yes, you'd think that one would go in the thumbs up column, wouldn't you?), am now at the point where the thought of shopping once more at The Godforsaken Grocer, a task that leaves me borderline suicidal in good times, to come home with yet another strangled looking, overpriced bunch of kale or giant plastic carton of "baby romaine", which I then have to bother recycling, leaves my reasons for living seriously undermined. And don't get me started on the new local "boucherie"/ cheese- and- wee- packages- of- overpriced- crap vendor. It's just NOT, okay? Do these folks, these New York transplants, not expect me to comparison shop? Is that notion just too declassee for the clientele they court, the well heeled locals, so much so that I'm treated rather snootily for even mentioning he charges four times what the Portland Italian Deli charges for the very same item? In fact, I think the Italian Deli is his supplier. So, seriously?
That's not very New York of him, you ask me. He's probably faux New York, you know, Long Island or some suburb. Everyone in New York comparison shops, don't they? Isn't that a matter of pride, not to say identity, in New York? In most real cities? BTW, Portland, Maine, is not a real city. The one redeeming feature of Portland, and the ONLY reason I shop there, aside from Micucci's, is Standard Baking Company, an authentic French Boulangerie/Patisserie where folks know what they're about, charge a fair price, and are nice in the bargain. All this hoopla about The Maine Foodie Scene – what the hell is a 'foodie' anyway? – is baloney. Just a lot of fairly untalented cooks calling themselves chefs (Erin French the one inspired, brilliantly stellar exception, and she's way up north where she cooks for real people) and charging four star prices for their half star food. And they think they're "political" about food. Humbug! They'd sell out to Marriott in a heartbeat. If the average person can't afford to eat there a few times a month, your only 'politics' is feeding those who are already eating well, and that's shyte politics. Chef is a meaningless word these days. Utterly meaningless. An electric guitar, a Marshall and an audience do not a Jimi Hendrix make. Don't even make a Jimmy Page.
Bright spots this winter: Just the ones that come quickly to mind.
Books by Rachel Cusk, an amazing writer I wish I knew personally. Inhaling her books.
HBO Documentary: George Harrison, In a Material World. Just fabulous.
Season 6 of Justified on FX.
Grantchester on PBS
The new WOW airlines? $99 to Iceland? REALLY?!!! cool.
The odd email from folks i love who are far away.
P has just come in to inform me the birds are back. Sadly, he's wrong. They're not back. They've simply of necessity come out of their frozen coma denial state long enough to notice the feeder that has been hanging chock full of seed for a month now sans visitors. I don't know whether to celebrate or mourn their misguidedness. Well, I could feign ignorance, believe "they're back", but I know better. Who knows? Maybe he's right. Maybe they are back. Maybe it's a sign of good things to come. It could also be that they're just plain stupid.