As I rode my bike to campus on the cold snap's first day, the bitter wind brought tears to my eyes and caused the snot to flow from my nostrils like fine wine from an oak cask. In my head, I raved at the inhumanity of it all. This was March 2nd for crying out loud! I shouldn't have been braving a subzero wind chill on March 2! March was a time for wearing silk tunics and blissfully frolicking through flowery meadows! Looking back now, I have to plead temporary insanity.
When I reached the English building - an interminable four minutes after leaving my apartment - I locked my bike up and made it inside just in time to squeeze between the elevator's closing doors. My advisor, Lee, was onboard, too, and, after saying hello, I couldn't resist commenting on the weather.
"It's a nightmare out there," I said, sniffling and wiping snot from my face with the back of my hand. I squinted into the middle distance and lowered my voice a couple of octaves. "A bone-chilling nightmare the likes of which man has never known."
Lee raised his eyebrows. "Come on," he said. "What kind of Saranac Laker complains about the cold?"
I almost choked on my own mucus. Over the past couple of years, I'd regaled Lee with tales of Saranac Lake's legendary deep freezes, and now all my boasting had come back to show me what a pathetic pantywaist I'd turned into during my time in the Midwest.
My cheeks burning with shame, I stammered out a half-coherent response - something about how I was just kidding with all that bone-chilling nightmare stuff, it was just a funny joke, ha-ha - and then we reached Lee's floor and he was gone, leaving me alone with his awful question.
Indeed, I wondered, what kind of Saranac Laker complains about the cold? But when I really thought about it, it only took a couple of seconds to come up with an answer, and that answer instantly allayed my fears. Every kind of Saranac Laker complains about the cold, I thought - in fact, complaining about the cold is one of the ties that binds us together, no matter where we are.
Dan Leonidas makes shallow observations. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or myspace.com/lastminuteconcerns.