Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ice Possums and Other Anomalies

There are tons of reasons why I live in the South.  Of course, I was born and bred here, so I certainly feel at home.  Also, I respect most of the traditions of polite Southern society--even though many folks in this day and age might call them archaic--and I want my baby belles to grow up with the same appreciation.  No one will have cause to ask my children if they had, in fact, been raised in a barn (a sentiment that crosses my mind more than once when I see other people's kids at Monkey Joe's).

Nonetheless, there is a more...pedestrian...reason for my homesteading on the coast of North Carolina:  I don't do cold.

My amazingly fantastic and wonderful paralegal (who I would hold hostage if she ever tried to quit) is from a small New York town that borders a lake with Canada.  What I am able to gather from her horror stories is that the town's summer usually consists of one Tuesday afternoon in mid-July and the reason residents don't pack up and move the hell away is because the snow is blocking all ingress and egress to and from their homes.  The fact that my paralegal made it out and lived to tell the tale is a testament to her mind-blowing persistence.

So, if I completely lose my mind and decide that I want to spend the rest of my life freezing to death, rest assured that I will pull up my tent and move somewhere where it is supposed to get cold.  As it stands now, I am cold weather milquetoast:  Anything in the forty degree range is severe winter weather and anything in the thirty degree range is a catastrophic portent of the next Ice Age.  We need not even discuss temperatures less than thirty degrees.

Not only do I not like the cold weather, I don't function in it.  If there is a threat of ice, I won't even venture to my mailbox and you can completely forget about driving.  When Scott and I moved to Smithfield, North Carolina so that I could attend law school (I call it "doing time in Smithfield"), we had a tremendous and unexpected snow.  Scott thought that the blizzard from Hell would be a good opportunity to teach me how to handle a car in winter weather.  The lesson consisted of him driving us to an empty parking lot and me screaming in terror for the whopping half lap I operated the Jeep.

So, I am admittedly thin skinned when it comes to the cold, but I also think there is another reason I shy away from snow and ice:  I am a klutz (see Failing Grace, et seq).  I can fall on a sidewalk in perfectly nice weather with no catalyst in sight, so why in the hell would I risk my life to walk on a path covered in ice?   

Back when I was young and under the impression that I was bulletproof, my family took a couple of ski vacations to Colorado.  Believe it or not, I enjoyed skiing, but stopping was a bitch.  On our third trip out to there, I was so excited about hitting the slopes that I shot out to squeeze in one quick run before things closed up for the day.  As usual, I was overeager and not at all mindful of the fact that I should take my first run slow to get back into the groove.

I found myself sailing down the path on my skis and actually enjoying the cold on my face and the feel of the snowflakes on my eyelashes.  I was so into it that I completely forgot about the sharp left turn on the path.  If a skier didn't make that left turn, they had a very, very, very long drop in their future and I was going way too fast to either make the turn or stop in time.  As the drop off loomed ahead of me, there was only one option:  Stop abruptly by diving head first into the snow. 

Anyone who tells you that Colorado powder is "so light and fluffy and soft" has obviously never hit the ski brakes with their face.  So, there I was...face down and so very uncool.  I have one hard and fast rule born on those Aspen slopes that applies to all klutzes in all embarrassing and klutzy situations:  If you fall, stay down, don't move and don't speak.  People will be less likely to laugh at you if they think that you are seriously injured or dead.

I played possum until the Ski Patrol showed up and I got a ride down the mountain with a lovely young fellow by the name of Adam.  I can also tell you that the Ashley Culbreth Council Possum Pose worked a charm for my little brother who--during that very same ski trip--accidentally skied straight into the basement of a slope-side restaurant. 

Those long ago ski vacations--lovely though they were--cemented my belief that I am not meant for any sort of "adverse winter weather conditions" (to quote one of those overly made-up women on The Weather Channel).  So, why in the world I was out driving around in the horror that was today's weather?  It's Santa's fault.  Santa screwed up and brought only one of the baby belles a pair of sheep slippers (the other one already has a pair of frog slippers) whereupon there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth in covetousness.  Mama hauled ass at first light this morning and finally found what must be the last pair of lamb slippers in the Northern Hemisphere at the Monkey Junction Harris Teeter and--no--I do not live anywhere near the Monkey Junction Harris Teeter.

There you have it:  I braved today's blizzard for my beautiful (spoiled) baby belles and Santa will be hearing from my lawyer.

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