Monday, February 18, 2008

Day forty six...Look who's coming to dinner.

Winter is kind of like nature's great equalizer.

I realized this today as I was walking home from a big day shopping at the dollar store.

It provides me with a whole new set of public manner-minding and social guidelines. Because of its inherent inconsistency, it mixes my my ideas of how to react and what to expect from minute to minute. It keeps me on my toes, if I'm lucky.

It's been a pretty straightforward season so far. We've had a few bouts of accumulation; nothing more than a foot or so in one storm. We've had some days of mild temps, and we've had plenty of rain; some turning to sleet.

But the thing I noticed today is that my gameboard is all screwy. My normal paths are repaved. My defenses are completely out of sync, and my body is thouroughly bent out of shape because of it.

I walk pretty much the same way downtown from my house everyday. On average it takes me about 15 minutes to get there. Today it took 10. The reason? I slid most of the way.

You see, I take a shortcut down a wooded hill. Today, the snow had slicked up due to a bit of rain. And because It was raining and not snowing, I wore my sneakers rather than my boots. Man, if I only had it on film. If I could only watch silly me trying to make it down that hill I've traveled a thousand times. Starting out strong and defiant; sliding a couple of feet; turning 90 degrees to slow and steady myself; straightening out; baby-stepping it a couple of feet; deciding to use the natural foot holds left by someone in a size 15 boot; becoming impatient and defiant once again; almost wiping out; going back to baby-steps, and then thankfully, semi-gracefully, coming upon pavement.

Safe on the surface.

Who needs a car when you can slide down a hill?

I also found it interesting how the elements, combined with each individual land owner's sense of responsibility, can keep us in line. Literally. With an average of a foot and a half of walkway graciously made available by snowplow or shovel we are put at a disadvantage. It's either throw caution to the wind and walk in the street, or follow along in the footsteps of others. Because you know those little paths aren't big enough for two grown people to pass each other. Somebody's got to wait. Who's it going to be? Who's got patience? Who's got class?

Speaking of class, I had dinner tonight with some wonderful friends. John, his wife Christine, and their almost four year old daughter, Madeline were the hosts. It was something I'd been looking forward to since John suggested it in a letter he sent to me while I was at the D.U.I.L. program.

The menu:

Marinated broiled pork chops with homemade apple sauce. Pumpkin ginger parmesan rissoto. Steamed broccoli. Sponge cake topped with sliced strawberries and whipped topping for dessert. And of course, a nice, civil, hot cup of tea.

This was followed by a heated game of Candyland. The usual suspects-Gradma Nutt, Lord Licorice, Queen Frostine, and King Kandy-were all on my side for a time. But I was rusty, a bit too full, and ultimately little Madeline won. I have a feeling she had a system worked out, but there was no way to prove it. I conceded defeat as did the other grownups, and John took me home.

Not too long ago I would have been unavailable for such an evening. Oh sure, I would have initially said yes to the offer. But when the time came, I probably would have found some excuse to stay home and turn off. "I'm sorry for such short notice but... I'm not feeling so good."-that was always a believable one. Or worse than that, been so looped that I would have gone over, only to stumble around their house repeatedly saying inapropriate and stupid things, and probably eaten a portion of the meal with my hands. Even an almost 4 year old knows that's not allowed when company's over.

But I didn't do any of those things. I had a lovely time with some good people; people who would have had me over either way; people who care about me.

This whole, not-getting-hammered-every-day thing is really starting to grow on me. Like the winter time, it has a way of providing me with unpredictable outcomes born from routine activities. It provides me with a whole new set of public manner-minding and social guidelines.

But the thing I noticed after dinner tonight was that my gameboard was all screwy. My normal paths were repaved. My defenses were completely out of sync, and my body was thouroughly bent out of shape because of it.

But I betcha I could've put down one more pork chop...

Thanks for reading.



Libby Spencer said...

I used to take that shortcut all the time when I used to housesit in your hood. I'm way impressed you slid down that hill. That one was tricky, even if it was just slick with wet leaves.

Good to hear you're doing so well.

Anonymous said...

Maybe next time the Rainbow Trail will lead us to victory, my good man! A fine time was had by all, indeed.

-Johnny J