January 16, 2012 by Rivky
Yesterday’s temperature felt like a balmy 10 degrees. A wonderful day for the car heater to conk out on me. I struggled to stay warm. with my gray gloves protecting me slightly, I scrunched and bunched the warmth around my numb finger tips while creating a bit of friction by rubbing my hands together every 30 seconds. It didn’t help. I then thought I would take my earthy green colored wool scarf and wrap it around my neck a little more tightly. Only, I discovered that I was now oxygen deprived and gasping for the Arctic air that was slowly enveloping me. And so, I had to loosen it again.
Do you ever notice that when it’s freezing outside and you’ve inhaled way too much cold air into your lungs, it starts to feel like you’re strangely sucking on a seriously strong menthol, eucalyptus throat lozenge? Suddenly, those deep breaths become more difficult and you actually begin to imagine a mild pain..and the fear of a possible sore throat..which leads you to question whether this season will bring you the nasty flu or not…
So, I slid into the car seat and managed to avoid the usual clumsiness of bumping my head on the rooftop exterior by a mere inch. I fumbled for my keys, looking into the dark abyss of my cluttered, Kenneth Cole bag, which I had received as a gift -for being told kindly that, I must get rid of the torn up ‘holy’ bag that I had become quite attached to. So, continued the search in the usual pockets…which has to be one of the more irritating mysteries of why we never prepare ourselves beforehand….for moments like these when we’re sitting in Sub-zero degree temperatures. My ‘aha’ moment came to me after realizing I had left it in my coat pocket the previous night. I had told myself at the time that I could avoid fumbling around for car keys if I just simply left it in my Winter coat.
After about thirty menthol exhales later, I cleverly, saving myself frostbitten time of course, reached into my coat pocket, grabbed the damned keys and attempted to insert key into the ignition and turn the engine on. The motor seemed to cough and sputter, taking on a human like quality of sharing its Seasonal misery with me. I pushed on the gas pedal, hoping to infuse it with some spark of life.
I was hoping at this point to keep my warm, fur hood on…but it was preventing me from using the necessary peripheral vision that is mandatory for safe driving. So, to avoid further risk I removed the last protective shield guarding my ears and cheeks. Through the white jungle brush of tangled fuzz and spiked Cilium, I gently cleared the fluff away from my face. The cold static had now transferred to my head, creating what now looked like a shocked porcupine behind the wheel of a growling, rumbling Impala. I quickly adjusted the mirror and tried to flatten out my Alfalfa hair but, my gloves only added to the runway fashion shot that I was not going for.
So there I sat on my ice throne, numb, teeth chattering, spike static hair and fully determined to get this car out of Park position. I fidgeted with the radio for a warm distraction. Was it Bach’s English Suite that would soothe me today or James Taylor…or maybe some Lady Gaga. How about NPR to educate my dwindling knowledge base of Political News. I can then later apply it in conversation and prove my awareness of serious issues currently taking place here and globally. Of course this would be strictly to appease the Gods of my passionately heated activist circle of friends and to simply maintain a healthy reportorial debate .
I managed to get comfortable enough to find the seat belt, which is always lodged so far out of reach somehow. I pulled back the gearshift in reverse, backed out slowly, re-adjusted my rear view mirror and forwarded into drive. And so, into traffic I merged, with shivering anticipation. Off I drove and onto the frigid road I followed…on what was to be a most intriguing Sunday adventure yet.
(To be cont.)