The Winter that Broke the People

The sleet against the window sounds like a bowl of Rice Krispies succumbing to a slow drizzle of milk. The tiny, airy, cereal puffs cry out in pain like they’re being burned alive. God, how they whine. Did I mention that I hate Rice Krispies? Always have. I am not a fan of sleet either, or, at this point, winter in general.

Now that we’ve (almost) rounded the bend from New England winter to New England spring, I take this time to reflect on what the record-breaking Winter of 2015 has done to us.

I’ve observed that a number of people have taken up smoking. On my drive to work, I’ve seen lots of people walking along the sidewalks, up and down nice little neighborhoods, all with cigarettes hanging from their lips. I can’t say I blame them. I certainly yearned for vices stronger than coffee and chocolate and jigsaw puzzles to get me through the worst of the winter days, but still, there’s something about a man driving an ice cream truck with his arm out the window and his fingers curled around a burning cigarette to make me think that something isn’t quite right.

And speaking of things that aren’t quite right, I saw a young mom walking along the sidewalk pushing a baby carriage. She had a burning cigarette between her teeth. Now, I don’t want to sound all judge-y, but I guess I can’t help sounding all judge-y. Please put the cigarette out, young mom, and refrain from lighting another. I get it, I really do, but everything is going to be okay now. You made it. Winter is over now (I think). It can’t hurt you anymore (I hope).

And then there’s all that tomfoolery on the highway. We enjoy directional-free lane weaving all year round regardless of weather. But now, the Dance of the Pothole has taken this fun game to a new extreme. There is epileptic lane switching that one would normally associate with texting, but it’s so, so quick, that it can’t possibly be a maneuver undertaken by someone in a cell phone stupor. There is no time to check rear and side-view mirrors. One can only hope that there is no Mac truck or SUV filled with small children in the lane that the pothole dancer plunges into in order to avoid a flat tire. It’s directional-free lane weaving on steroids.

And lastly, there is the superstitious caution in the form of winter-weather talismans. Though we are all desperate to put our coats and boots away, this year, we haven’t put them too far away. And every house has a shovel by the front door and a bag of sand near the entryway. We are sure that if we put these items away, (and we should be able to, now that it’s April), we will invite the mother of all blizzards right into our own back yards.

I have a feeling we’re going to see these things still outside in July, next to our garden hoses and watering cans. We may never trust Mother Nature again.

We are a broken people.


Author: kristinrusso

Writer, teacher, insatiable reader

7 thoughts on “The Winter that Broke the People”

  1. Absolutely, Nancy! You serve the alcohol and cigarettes and Mary and I will rent a snow plow for the drive. If next winter is anything like this winter, we’re going to need to share a few laughs!


  2. I love your blog, Kristin, I can’t wait for your treatise on the New England mud season, should it ever come this year.
    I knew winter was still with us when, on Easter Sunday, Dan got the snow blower, from the barn, and plowed the yard to clear a diamond for the annual Bunnyball game.
    Good news, though, the robins are setting up housekeeping, again, and are shivering in their summer home, deep inside the evergreen. If they’re sticking it out, so can we. No babies yet, but I’ll call Nick as soon as I see the eggs. We may be a broken people, but spring will come again. Does that sound preachy?


  3. I think maybe snow blowing the Whiffle ball field to play the annual Bunnyball game is proof that in fact we are not broken. Down, certainly, but not out. We shall not be vanquished!


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