Jack: How is it that you didn’t know about the crash? About us?
Desmond: I push this button every 108 minutes. I don’t get out much.
—Lost, “Orientation” (10/5/05)
Snowpocalypse, Snowmageddon, Snowgasm, Snowtorious B.I.G….call it whatever you want, it’s a lot of snow. Statistically, as of February 11 Baltimore is THE snowiest city in the US this year, with a total of 79.9 inches. That’s just enough to bury the guy to the left, here. (His name is Igor Vovkovinsky, and he lives in Rochester, NY, which is now #5 on the list with a mere 63.9 inches.) As a means of contrast, Michelle Obama is 5 feet, 11 inches tall; she only has to go to Philadelphia, PA (#4) to be buried in snow. I’d have to go to Erie, PA (#3). My next-door neighbor B would probably go to Syracuse, NY (#2).
And—AND! We’re not done. There’s more snow coming on Monday evening.
But, whatever. You can read all about the snow in a million other places, you can see pictures in the news and on Facebook (“Winter Snowstorm 2010”), everyone has a story of how they were snowed in away from the rest of the world and they had to SHOVEL THEIR WAY OUT, the horror…the horror.
The positive side to all of this is that you’re also seeing a lot of stories about neighbors getting together and digging each other out. Sometimes this means that they’re meeting for the first time. In our case, this wasn’t the situation (meeting each other, that is), but there was a pile of camaraderie going on this week. Everyone took some time to dig out one or more of the neighbors.
The last time it snowed a lot, our neighbor from across the street, who is a locksmith, was taking his work van through the neighborhood and he got bogged down in the snow. B from next door, his son and I all helped to dig him out and get the van about 200 feet up the slight incline to Harford Road, which was at least reasonably clear. A passing big honkin’ pickup truck coming up Harford spotted us and offered to pull him out the last 15-20 feet, which he did and then went merrily on his way. Locksmith and his wife said that they’d have us all for dinner as a “Thank You” once B’s wife, S, got home from China. (She’s studying International Business Law there for a year, but was due home for the intersession break. So if you need a lawyer who can speak fluent Chinese, drop me a line and I’ll put you in touch.) (Oh, and don’t blame me if she doesn’t update; go yell at her.)
So this past week, we had everyone over at my place for the Super Bowl, which means all kinds of food, including S & B from next door, Mr. & Mrs. Locksmith, and the engaged couple across the street (who now need a moniker…give me a minute). A day or two later, it was brunch at S & B’s place. Shortly after that was the Thank You dinner at Mr. & Mrs. Locksmith’s house. And the next night we had dinner at the Engaged household (still working on it). And in the middle of all this, when we finally got one of the bigger vehicles to break free, everyone rode in the Shopping Expedition (Big Ford-related pun!) that afternoon. (Ooh, there you go: they’ll be the Ford Twins, since it was their car.)
As a result, between all the shoveling, and the meals at the neighbors, and the Nobody Goes Nowhere situation engendered by the snow, I’ve about had it with the togetherness. It’s not that I’m an anti-social person, but I definitely enjoy being social on my own terms. I don’t want to spend any more time with the neighbors, I don’t want to spend any more time with my family (Valentine’s Day be damned), I need some honest-to-god “me” time. I do realize that it sounds kind of asshole-ish of me, but I do need frequent periods of solitude or my anxiety levels go way up. And let me tell you what: they’re up. I need to get back to work so I can calm down. Especially since that’s where the BuSpar is, dammit.
This morning, Wife asked me if I’d take Wee One to her cheerleading practice this afternoon and I was only too happy, because I could work on this post and the other parents generally leave me alone. My luck: Ultimate Gymnastics is staging a kid’s birthday party this afternoon, which means that the normally-quiet waiting area has dozens of people in it, including a bunch of hyperactive seven-year-olds, plus the tables are all occupied, so my computer is a laptop in the literal sense just now, and I’m boxed in with all these other folks. I’m not claustrophobic, exactly, but I’m definitely an aisle-seat kind of guy.
So if you see a headline coming out of the Baltimore area about a murder-suicide in Parkville, that would be me.