Lame Adventure 399: Snow Pricks

Norman Rockwell was not here.

It’s beginning to look a lot like porn Christmas.

When I woke Tuesday morning I looked out the window and witnessed the first softly falling snow of the season. Ultimately, less than two inches fell in the city and most of it had melted by day’s end, but apparently it still set a record for a December 10th snowfall. Over the course of the months ahead I imagine that there will be plenty more of it to come. Unlike rain, snow does not make a racket, aside from the familiar sound of shovels scraping it off the sidewalk and maybe the occasional thud of some unlucky sap keeling over from a heart attack. Snow falls gracefully even in New York City. Then, it hardens and gets covered in soot and dog pee. The process of Big Apple snow losing its virginity generally happens at warp speed.

This particular Tuesday morning I realized that this month is the 31st anniversary between snow and me. Back in December 1982, I experienced my first snowfall in New York City. Coming from San Francisco, where the weather is usually moderate, I was thrilled to savor my first taste of East Coast-style winter. Maybe it was even a little magical. 31 years later I can honestly say the magic of snow for me is dead, buried and thoroughly decomposed. In fact, my relationship with snow instantly shed its luster on February 11, 1983 when New York got smacked with the Megalopolitan Snowstorm and was buried under 17.6” of it. Even though snow can be very pretty to look at it, it can be a hassle getting around in it.

My first winter out here I was such a cold weather novice. I did not have an adequate coat or boots. So I froze my ass off. The next winter I wised up, and invested in appropriate footwear. I also purchased an enormous down coat that could have served double duty as a sleeping bag or a shelter in the Arctic.

About twenty years ago, on a frigid winter’s day, I was trudging up the slushy Upper Broadway sidewalk in the midst of a crowd. Shoveled mounds of frozen snow were piled three feet high at the curb. An Irritating Hotdog riding a low rider bike, that type of bike with the big handlebars and banana seat, was behind the pedestrians impatiently barking:

Irritating Hotdog: Beep, beep! C’mon, people, get outta the way! Comin’ through!

The throng was thick and the going was slow. It was pure idiocy trying to ride a bike on the sidewalk, especially in those conditions. Fed up with being trapped behind the wall of foot traffic, Irritating Hotdog had a light bulb. He accessed his inner Evel Knievel and decided to jump his bike over the hills of ice looming large at the curb. Unfortunately for him he failed to clear the hurdle. He went flying off his bike. Its once round front wheel was unnaturally twisted at about a 45-degree angle rendering it impossible to ride. The frame might have been banged up, too. Possibly, he totaled his bike. Back to the star attraction, I can still see him airborne. I had stopped, as did others, allowing him space to smack down hard on the pavement in front of us. A fountain of compassion, I gushed:

Me: Good one, asshole.

Even though his clock was cleaned, he got back up on his feet looking looking a tad sheepish. It seemed that his biggest bruise was to his ego and if his bike was indeed a goner, his wallet. An elderly woman walking next to me chuckled.

Elderly Woman: You’ve made my day, Buttercup.

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52 responses to “Lame Adventure 399: Snow Pricks

  1. oh..Buttercup. That’s a good one!

    Great post!

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  2. Happy anniversary, Buttercup! I miss the snow here in Cuenca. Thought of you yesterday when I heard on CNN you all were getting a bit of white stuff. Hell, and happy porn Christmas, as well!

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

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    • I think you can find “white stuff ” in Cuenca. And it’s probably cheaper there than it is in the States.

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    • If I could Kathy, I would gladly send you my portion of powder (a word I chose to intentionally antagonist Mike G). Rest assured, I would never miss it. I wish it was fall all year around, but that would mean moving back to San Francisco, one of my favorite places, but I’m addicted to Manhattan.

      Hugs from the Big Apple,
      V

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  3. Hello LA,

    Great satire! I love it!

    I was stranded on the Williamsburg Bridge Sunday night in the flurry of softly falling snow – a tour bus was across both outside lanes coming on to Manhattan – had to back up with a gaggle of inexperienced backeruppers, skidding and sliding from the middle of the bridge, back to Brooklyn to then take the two almost non-moving inside lanes – two and a half hours later, through the Holland Tunnel the roads were clear and I drove back at the normal pace…

    Thanks for your humorous look at the weather!

    Ever,

    R.

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    • Great to hear from you R! Glad you liked the post. What a punishing commute, but I so appreciate your use of gaggle in relation to your torture. That’s one of those words that makes me grateful for the existence of geese.

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  4. When I lived in Boston in the late 70s, I was astounded at how quickly the dog walkers were able to christen the newly fallen snow! And the porn Christmas shot is hilarious, V! But I’ll never forget the storm that hit Boston in 1978 with over 30 inches. The city was shut down for two weeks. That was the week I gifted myself with a brand new pair of Timberlands!

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    • Hoping it was actually the dogs themselves rather than their walkers who christened the snow. But in certain sections of Boston it might be as you stated.

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    • It’s similar with the canine crowd here in NYC, Cathy, except now the pooches — big, small and all sizes in-between — are often wearing coats and sweaters. I almost photographed a mutt in a purple hooded down doggy jacket yesterday, but I fought the urge to snap a shot of that hound’s complete and total humiliation. Dog mind-reader that I am, I knew what he was thinking: “First she cuts off my balls and now this indignity! Make it stop!”

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  5. I remember that cold and yes, the snow is magical and pretty — at first. But when it hangs around and gets dirty and slippery then it kind of sucks. My first year in New York I didn’t have the right boots and I slipped and fell hard on concrete. I wised up and got all the correct gear for those cold, snowy slippery winters. They hang in a closet now and the only one I’ve pulled out is a light raincoat and I was sweating in it after awhile. When I see it on TV — the snow, I think to myself, “Ahhh, it looks so nice, I miss it.” Then I think of that fall and well, not so much.

    Thanks for the stunning snow car art this morning and I would’ve probably bought the elderly lady a cup of coffee for calling me Buttercup. I don’t think I’ve ever been called Buttercup but I know I’d like it. Stay warm, V.

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  6. I liked the title and accompanying photo. Less said the better I presume. One question, though, did you wear gloves or mittens when creating your masterpieces. Okay, a second question, why don’t we see more va-jay-jays graffitti’d in the snow?

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    • Neither Milton nor I were the snow painters! But Milton lobbied hard for me to make that image my holiday card. Maybe next year or maybe never. In response to your second question, I have seen significantly-sized breasts drawn in snow, but that was before I became obsessed with picture-taking. And no, I am not a buxom breast snow painter, either, but I do like to watch.

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  7. Love your compassion. 😀

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  8. This morning I saw that someone had written “I Love You All” into the snow on a stoop. No snow pricks in this neighborhood 😉

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  9. We had freezing ran, sleet, and 6″ of snow starting last Thursday morning and finally ending late Friday afternoon. Six days later, most of the side streets are still ice covered and impassable. The county’s budget for snow removal equipment consists of one 8″ square-mouth shovel, a bucket of sand, and a bag of kitty litter. We’ve used it all up and it’s not even Christmas yet. It’s not every year I put kitty litter on my Christmas wish list.

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    • It’s been colder down by you in The Natural State than it’s been up here in the Big Apple, that’s for sure, Russell. This evening I got my laundry done while it was still a balmy 33 degrees. Temperatures are going to be colder in the days ahead. It’s official: summer is no longer visible in the rear view mirror. It appears to have been replaced by frozen roadkill.

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  10. That was funny V. Snow is very pretty, but too fuckin’ cold for me. The older I get, the more I’m thinking of retiring somewhere warm.

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  11. the snow porn amused me. Living in the country, the snow stays very pretty for a long time. It was magical this morning glistening from the tree tops. Damn cold but honestly, beautiful. Buttercup… now there is a nickname.

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    • Yes, Audra, I thought that image would score a hit with my fellow Lame Adventurers. I anticipate getting an earful from my sister about it who I highly doubt will be calling me “Buttercup” in that exchange.

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  12. We had heavy, blowing snow last week with temp. in the minus (F). While driving, I heard on the radio to watch out for a cyclist on the freeway. Even the radio announcer had to utter her disbelief. I’m sure that cyclist would not have shouted out commands to clear his/her way. We’re all marked by reticence and mild temperaments, as you might have expected. But why? Tamed by the elements, you see.

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    • As I read your comment, Arti, I blurted inside my head, “A cyclist on the freeway?!” And cycling in blowing snow? Is that Death Wish 101? Shouting out commands in those conditions surely would have made him a flattened cyclist. At least he (or she) was only partially crazy. Thanks for sharing this excellent tale!

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  13. That right there is a beautiful example of karma.

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  14. You are so much a Buttercup! Snow can be a pain. I also like the white fluffiness and the blanket of stillness it creates when you are indoors. But shoveling out your car from 3 ft of wetness the heft of cement, or trudging in slushy sidewalks (never mind having your hands full of toddler bundled in snowsuits that make them as easy to carry as a slinky in your armpit) is no fun. We have snow on the west coast MAYBE once a year. And given that no one know *how* to drive in snow, I’m happy to keep the odds of us getting consistent snow the same as hell freezing over.

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  15. Here it is approaching mid December and I’ve already had enough of the white stuff for the winter. Hmmmm. I must say it all looks much better on a bright and sunny day, and it stays nice and white except on the roads. Our Chinook winds melt things enough that we have a lot of muddy looking slush when the temperature rises, so you do have to get used to dirty cars. I’m actually sitting here typing to you so I don’t have to go outside and get errands run. Where did I put those snowshoes?

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  16. I love the faded virgin analogy, Virginia. I envy you your snow. We love it here but don’t get it much. The snow pricks are works of art; the closest we can boast in our forest is an anatomically correct, deeply aroused snowman who appeared on the top of the fort one day: whose sculptor has remained anonymous ever since.

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    • If I could, Kate, I’d bundle and box a forest-sized allotment of packed powder and ship it your way. I am certain we will have plenty more of it over here in the Apple in the weeks and months ahead.

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  17. “Good one, asshole”…so elegant! Your blog is hysterical, glad to have found it.

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  18. It sounds like that wasn’t snow falling over NYC, but rather frozen drifts of the milk of human kindness.

    I always think how awful it would be to die in New York–your last memories on this earth being a circle of mooney faces standing over you. “Will you lookit all that blood!” “Hey! He’s trying to talk–somebody get a picture of me with my finger in his mouth!” “He got any money?”

    WESTSIDE!

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    • Gee, Smak, I think New York would be the best place to die, particularly if your death is natural. New Yorkers act fast and are excellent in a crisis. A few years ago, a guy even dove into the subway track to rescue an ill man who fell in. A train even pulled into the station, but that quick thinking good Samaritan rescued the sick guy, and lived to talk about it.

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  19. Buttercup, and backing to Brooklyn (per R) — love it. Isn’t there a movie in this somewhere?

    When I first moved to Delaware from Los Angeles, the first winter I kept forgetting that I needed to put on a coat and shoes to go outside. I do miss the temperate climate, though I do like watching the snow fall — it’s magical, just not cleaning it up.

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