Perhaps I’ve been working too hard, but a sort of fed-up feeling rose up in me today, and had me tired of any media but the outdoors. (Not that the outdoors is usually thought of as a “media”.) All the people on various talk shows on the radio, both the political ones and the sports ones, struck me as being uninspired. I just felt sick of them, and fortunately one is able to turn a little nob and silence them.
The weather is a bit drab, midst a sort of winter drought. We do get rain, but the drought involves a lack of snow. Not that the little snow we have gotten hasn’t set some sort of record in terms of nuisance-per-inch. I can never remember having to shovel so much sand onto icy surfaces, after a measly total of four inches of snow since before Christmas. However all in all it has been a bit boring, in terms of drifts and high snow banks and howling winds, though there has just enough snow, mixed with just too little rain, to completely spoil the skating.
It reminds me of a certain January day in my boyhood, when the skating was no good and the sledding was no good, and all there was to do was homework, and that was no good. The only sport was basketball, but I was the youngest and shortest boy in my class. Hormones seemed to be hitting everyone else, and they were all growing like weeds, as I remained the same. Therefore basketball was out of the question, unless I was in the mood to be humiliated, which I seldom was. It was a time when it seemed humiliating simply to be alive, and my mood was morbid and I might have malingered away into complete misery, were it not for the second-shortest boy in my class, who understood everything I was going through, and was a great friend.
This fellow had the endearing quality of having intense enthusiasm about whatever he happened to be doing at that particular moment. It is very difficult to remain properly moody and depressed, in the face of such enthusiasm. At times I even tried to avoid him, because I wanted to pout and be miserable, all alone, like a lady going through a box of Kleenex having a good cry over a book, or a blues-singer enjoying his sorrows in song, but my friend would come barging in and interrupt. He would have seen an owl snoozing on a branch in the woods, and would state I simply had to go see it. He refused to take “No” for an answer, and, in the end, I usually had to concede it was worth the tramp through the trees to see an empty branch when an owl had supposedly reposed.
The most annoying quality he had was his ability to finish all his homework in what seemed like ten minutes. It took me an hour to even open a book, and just then he’d show up and give me an excuse to get an “F”. (Not that I minded all that much, until my report card came.) He was always dragging me off into other troubles as well, as he enthusiastically took me past “No Trespassing” signs to see what was down the train tracks, or in the quarry, or just beyond the reach of the junkyard dog. Not that I was unwilling. I soon learned that, while the fellow could be annoying, life was never boring when he was around.
His mother didn’t much like my mother, and the feeling was mutual, and they independently arrived at the conclusion the other’s son was a bad influence on their precious son. They were correct, as mothers usually are, but mothers might accidentally have their sons in dresses, if they had their way. Boys like trouble because boys are trouble, and we managed to find so much boyish trouble that, one January, we were banned from even telephoning each other. Fortunately he had received a couple “walkie-talkies” for Christmas, and he loaned me one. Unfortunately they only had a range of a mile, and our houses were slightly more than a mile apart. Only by stringing up elaborate systems of wires outside our bedroom windows could we hear, dim and remote, a faint voice fading in and out, midst vauge waves from the ionosphere.
To cut this long story short, one drab January afternoon, when I was up in my room and should have been doing my homework, we were conversing enthusiastically on the walkie-talkies, and he faded away, dimmer and dimmer, until he faded out. Nothing I did could improve the reception, and bring him back. I was abruptly confronted with what an antidepressant that friend was, and just how empty and stark and like-January life is, when a friend is gone.
(Perhaps this feeling returned because, at my age, I have to say good-bye to some old friends, who forge on before me. However this reality didn’t occur to me today, as I shut off the radio, and simply sniffed the weather.)
(Perhaps this mood hit me because some of my boyhood friend’s attributes are going into the creation of the character “Durf”, in the novel I’m working on. However I didn’t think of that either, as I looked across the dreary and drab January landscape.)
It was the strangest thing. I simply could remember being twelve, and bored out of my gourd, and that there was a beauty in that boredom.
Give credit to the boredom of boyhood,
To that ache drilling deep to the heart.
It urged me to trouble but led me to good.
Without it a man never would dare start
Questioning, probing, testing tradition.
He would be apron-strung and stay home,
Not seek to better the human condition,
Not shock a schoolmarm, daring to roam
Playing hooky. Give credit to boredom
For men on the moon. They’re glad to come home
So give credit to women for what we come
Home to, but do not make that a catacomb.
Instead see a crucial part of Good
Is born out of the boredom of boyhood.
Isn’t it amazing what can come from being just beyond the reach of the reception of a radio?
I am sort of starting to like being just beyond the reach of bad weather. The rain and mildness that swept over us last Sunday brewed up quite a storm to our north, and Quebec got clobbered. Not that the mainstream media cares much about Quebec, but they had sheets of freezing rain on one side of a storm that gave true blizzard conditions, powder snow drifting in temperatures of -40°, on its other side. (The mainstream media was more interested in a weak clipper that slid to our south.)
The very edge of the arctic air did press south over us, as temperatures dropped to 16.5° Monday night and only rose to 29.5° on Tuesday, (-8.7° and -1.4° Celsius), but this is nothing, compared to the -40° (both Celsius and Fahrenheit) air that dropped towards us and then was sucked back up into the storm in Quebec. The southern edge of the arctic air was just enough to evaporate the first burst of snow from the Alberta Clipper, and send the second burst well south of us, towards Washington DC, which deserves to be cooled down.
The edge of the arctic air, that depressed the clipper south, kept us below freezing all day, but swung the winds around to the ocean and kept the cruelest cold away, so we did get up to 30.9° (-0.6 Celsius).
Even as that clipper moved south of us, I deeply distrusted it, and watched like a hawk for signs it would explode and kick back snow over New Hampshire.
I am also suspicious of that mess over Texas. That seems likely to hit us. However, according to the American computer, that Texas mess will go just south of us, as will a follower from the Gulf of Mexico, even as the next Alberta Clippers dive south of us (or dry up before they get here). In fact, according to the American computer, there will be swaths of snow all around us, as New Hampshire remains drab and dry. A week from now the American “GFS” model predicts the following amounts of snow will have fallen (A Dr. Ryan Maue map from the Weatherbell site):
It is somewhat amazing how all the storms miss New Hampshire. As a boy this would have caused me terrible misery, because snow was my Avatar and Messiah, the Rasool and Savior, who could rescue me from the oppression of schoolmarms, and a map such as the above was something like a true-believer learning the second-coming has been delayed beyond the period of time they can expect to be alive.
As an old geezer I very much hope the maps are correct, and the second-coming is delayed. I’d much rather sit back in a mid-winter drought and contemplate stuff that occurred a half-century ago. I enjoy remembering old friendships, especially my old pal who was such a bad influence and got me into so much trouble.
The problem is, he was quite the interruption, and indeed there were times I wished he would get lost. I would want to get all morbid and wade in Kleenex like an old lady having herself a good cry, but he would bust in, bursting with enthusiasm, and drag me from my sweet violins of self pity.
Why is it that I have a strange feeling, as I look at the above map, that it is wrong? Why is it I have the feeling I will not be able to sit here, composing poetry? Why do I feel that, instead, I will be gripping the reins of a bucking snow-blower attempting to keep a business’s parking lot business-like?
If and when that happens, I hope I adopt the right attitude. As I trudge about behind the snow-blower I hope I don’t feel a great writer like myself should be spared such drudgery, and instead should be placed on a silk pillow and allowed to compose in Persian luxury. Rather I hope I regard the snow as an interruption like my old friend, dragging me from insipid yammering into vigor and activity and enthusiastic life.
I probably won’t. I’ll probably feel really, really sorry for myself, behind the snow blower. However, in memory of my boyhood buddy, I hope I shall do so enthusiastically.