Snowbound

For those of you who have been without TV, telephone, Internet, Twitter or Facebook access the last few days, Chicago just experienced its worst snowstorm in forty years. It does not make me happy that I remember the ones that were worse; that just makes me old.

At any rate – here we are, on the day after the blizzard.

This was the first storm like that that I’ve experienced on my own. I felt like I was okay. I stocked up on important things like Diet Coke and knew that I would be grateful for my seasonal snow plow contract. I’ve been home for a few days with a bad back anyway, so I looked forward to the opportunity to continue to nurse my aching back and get another day or two off from school.

Wednesday I kept getting phone calls from people wanting to make sure I was okay. It kind of made me feel like I was in a Cormac McCarthy novel… single woman, two dogs, trapped in a house waiting for the snowplow…

My aging border collie has been sick, too, so, alone in my bed hearing the wind whip I started to obsess about that a little. Interesting word – aging. Why do we use it to talk about those getting old? Aren’t we all aging starting at day one? You never hear anyone say “the aging three-year old struggled with toilet training…” Sorry – I digress.

Back to obsessing over the dog. What if she passed during the storm? What would I do if I couldn’t get to the vet with the body? Would I put it in cold storage of some kind? That just made me feel like I was in a novel by Stephen King.

In the morning, in the aftermath of the storm, I watched my neighbors outside digging out. Families, husband and wives, moms and dads, kids. Shoveling, clearing paths to mailboxes, playing with the dogs. It definitely fell into one of the moments of feeling alone.

Snowbound makes you feel alone. Alone like vulnerable, alone like “I wish I had someone here to drink a hot cocoa with,” alone like “there’s nobody here who cares that we’re stuck in the house.”

Some days feel more divorced than others. Like when I had to put Ben Gay on my own aching back. Or when the vet says “I think her liver is more enlarged.” And when the weatherman says “it’s going to be one for the history books, folks.”

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