Thursday, January 31, 2013

in, out

Everything about this day was changeable. Unsteady, unpredictable. And therefore poorly observed and even less well photographed.

Up early. Snow? Again? Is it supposed to snow?

We eat breakfast quickly, at the kitchen table.

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And then I'm off. Except wait, that's a pretty patch of blue up there. Might we have a lovely day ahead?


Cold. It's beastly cold. Single digits. The doors on the cars are sticking. Snow clumps to the underside. It takes me a while to clear a car enough to get going and so I do not have time to even pause for a photo of the beautiful interplay between clouds and sun over the fields to the side of the road.

For a while, the sun dominates. Walking up the hill to my office, I snap this photo.

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But it doesn't last.

After my first class, I have a necessary doctor's appointment. Leg surgery  -- of the type that you have when you've been around for a while. With assurances that I can teach right after (because I am unwilling to take the day off).

During the procedure, the doc and I chat about Turkey. Okay, that's fun. The hour under the knife flies. After, I rush back to campus for my afternoon class. Except, when I park in the garage, I find that I can't open the car door. I crawl over cross country skis to exit through the passenger side. Right. Will do. Maybe something froze somewhere.

Classes done. Survived being on my feet after leg surgery. Back to the old Geo to drive it home. And again: door wont open. Passenger side as well. Now what? (Key is inside, hidden in it's usual inside spot.)

Ah. Hatch is unlocked. I scramble in through the rusty, dirty hatch over clunky skis to open the passenger door. I then crawl back out, close the hatch, and crawl once more, this time on the passenger side, over to the driver's seat.

Now that was a challenge!

I think of people who drive cars where doors open and close, where you don't have to shut off all peripherals at the beginning (heat, lights, radio) to get the fan belt to stop squealing... I tell Ed that my patience with his Geo is really diminishing. He grins -- but you're having fun!

I consider his point: do adversity (of the kind when you cant get into a car and cant run the heat or lights or radio for the first two minutes of a trip) and challenge create a sense of fun? I've always thought that the last place where I will put good (potentially travel) money is on a car. I enjoyed talking with my doc about Turkey. The recollections of my travels there thrilled me. No account of any car would have made me half as happy.

I pick up Ed at the farmette and we drive to Paul's cafe. I show him how once again, I cannot open the door. He laughs: you're banging it with your elbow! That's silly! Bang it with the palm of your hand -- everyone knows that! Okay. I will remember: keep heat/lights/radio off until fan belt quiets down and to get out, use palm not elbow. In the alternative, climb in and out through the hatch.

My doc told me I absolutely cannot ski for at least 24 hours. So I have a reason to say no to skiing in the Arctic blast. I settle in at Paul's and drink my decaf skim whatever and think again about Turkey and Crete and all the islands in between.

During the short drive home, the muffler on the Geo splits. Rusted through to the core. The noise now, when I accelerate is deafening. The door? Well, if I couldn't open it before, we now find ourselves in the position of not being able to close it. I drive home slowly, keeping the door "shut" with my hand pulling it toward me.

At home, Ed mutters -- I may have to retire that car.

He goes to fetch Isis from the sheep shed...

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...while I roast all remaining vegetables in the refrigerator for a thrown together supper of everything and nothing.

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The last day of January. Thank you January -- we've really had such fine days with you!