Maxed Out 

Deep into down

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This is almost enough to give a guy serious doubts about global warming. I’m the first to admit, with neither pride nor shame, that minus freakin’ 24 degrees — any scale you’d like to use — is too damn cold. It’s too cold to go skiing. It’s too cold to work outside. It’s too cold to walk the dog even though Zippy the Dog seems not to notice it at all and is perfectly content to bodysurf the fluffy powder and do his rather awkward version of snowdog angels.

It’s too cold for my car that moans and groans and squeaks because all its grease and more fluid lubricants have congealed into blocks of wax. Its ride has taken on the qualities of a vibrating Barcalounger as the round seven-eighths of the tires come up short when they rotate onto the flat spots. I’ve discovered a cord attached — I’m guessing — to a block heater I didn’t know it had and I’m pondering the unsustainability of plugging it in. Two things stop me. The first is my vow to never, ever live in a place where I have to plug my car in to ensure it starts later. I’d rather just set it afire, claim the insurance and move someplace warmer. The second is the wildly-spinning electric meter attached to the side of the house. Its platter has taken to resembling an old 78rpm record, rotating so fast it’s just a blur.

Which is almost impossible to understand given I feel as though I’m living inside a meat locker. Suitable lounging attire these days more closely resembles all the clothes I generally wear while skiing with the exception of a breathable shell ski jacket — I’m deep into down at the moment — goggles, which I’d probably wear if they were the right prescription to read the squiggles on the computer screen, and ski boots. I’m only wearing liners inside the house lest I stomp Zippy’s paws. The puny baseboard heaters are fighting a valiant but losing battle against the interior walls, that seem to radiate cold even more efficiently than the refrigerator’s coils, and the various, sundry draughts no amount of caulking and StopSeal are able to eliminate. Baby, it’s cold inside .

That this blessedly-uncharacteristic cold snap coincides with an onslaught of deadlines is a minor blessing for which I am grateful. Pride alone, even without the powerful, genetic influence of procrastination, would force me to go skiing were it not for the pile of work nagging me, the people awaiting that work and their incessant, harpielike inquiries as to whether I fully appreciate the definition of deadline. Deadline: (ded'l ? n') n 1. A time limit, as for the completion of newspaper copy or other work. 2. A strong suggestion of when unreasonable people expect to see results assuming, of course, nothing more interesting comes along to delay, defer or diminish the desire to meet same. 3. An annoyance to be ignored. Yeah, I understand… I just wonder if they understand.

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