Last night was the first real paint-the-ground-white snow. I always forget how the sky turns lavender on these nights. The little flakes settle on my tongue when I step outside, clusters dance in the wash of streetlamps, everything gets hushed, even the sirens, even the dogs barking, even the noisy neighbors upstairs who seem to know precisely the moment I begin to fall asleep and start slamming drawers shut. But not on the night of first snow.
First Snow/Relative Poverty of Youth (Again)/Childhood Days
4 December, 2007 by Miranda Ward
Ensconced in my warm little apartment, heater on, swathed in blankets and a cashmere sweater, I played with my new toy: a shiny, wonderful MacBook that I just can’t get enough of. Somewhere along the line–I think perhaps when I looked at my desk and realized I had two relatively expensive laptops just sitting there, nonchalantly–it occurred to me to marvel at my own situation: a few months ago I was scraping change to buy bus fares; now I have computers galore cluttering up my workspace. And because I’m young, and about to graduate, I still have plenty of financial woes (getting a job eased some of them up, I’ll grant you)…waiting until payday to make big purchases, then spending two weeks buying the cheapest groceries I can so I don’t run out before the next check comes in. The relative poverty of youth: a generous, loving family gives me a gift that the truly poor could never afford, and then I flounder over whether or not I can reasonably afford a night out.
This morning the snow turned slightly slushy, then icy, and I started to slip before I’d even gotten down my street. I always appear to be the only one who has trouble walking on ice, though surely I can’t be. I end up looking like a royal fool, skating down sidewalks or ambling penguin-like with my arms outstretched so as not to fall, whilst girls in stilettos sprint past hoping to make the Olympic track team and men so old I think they must have fought in the civil war bound spryly down flights of stairs. I went slip-sliding my way to the T-stop, balancing a cup of tea and a scone in one hand. Made it relatively without incident to work (except for when the T driver slammed on his brakes and I splashed the woman next to me with tea–in the kind of irrational frustration I feel when I’m up too early and going somewhere I’d rather not be going, I cried, “I’m sorry, god, I just…don’t have anywhere to hold on to, I don’t know what the hell I’m supposed to do!” and then felt a little guilty when all she did was laugh nervously and edge away from me…I probably had steam coming out of my ears or something); but naturally managed to fall flat on my bum on the way back from work. Luckily I found it mostly funny (see! I told myself, while civil-war-aged-men in heels jogged past without incident); though the right side of my body was nice and wet for the rest of my commute.
To cheer myself up (and because I had no food in the house) I went to the market, which I always enjoy. I bought foods, without thinking of it, that recall my childhood: macaroni and cheese, applesauce, tangerines, ice cream, grapes, broccoli. Perhaps it’s some bit of my consciousness rebelling against my adult-ish (emphasis on ish) lifestyle; or my wounded pride’s way of coping. Maybe, though, it’s what happens after the first snow.