Santa has so many names around the world… I wonder what he calls himself?
Some days, the bed is just too comfortable to consider getting out of. Unfortunately, these days usually coincide with those when we have work.
Some days, when sleep and work are at odds like that, it makes more sense to us to just stay in bed, work be damned. It is on these days of selfish hedonism, these days of priotizing yourself over your (stupid) obligations, that we win a small victory toward true happiness.
I stood in the street, but my thoughts were in the sky above me. I watched them for what felt like forever; I watched the wisps of white sail across the world in their poetic way.
The only difference between this moment and the next, I realized, is where the clouds are.
I work at a hotel, and we often get semi truck drivers hauling big trailers. Forced to spend the night in the midst of a Midwestern winter, truckers get concerned about the clearly subzero temperatures outside. They want to know if they can plug in their trucks to the building and keep the engine warm enough to start in the morning.
I’m more than happy to oblige, of course, seeing as I am a Guest Service Agent, or in layman’s terms, “front desk dude”. Well, I’ll spare you the half-hour of frozen confusion and stress I spent trying not just to plug his truck into the power box, but to find the fucking pole it was connected to. I had never seen this plug, you see, having never scouted the hotel grounds to check where it was (I didn’t even know it existed), and never having faced the bitchiest of Mother Nature’s cold-weather bitch fits while at work before.
I ended up doing both last night. Turns out it was in the back of the hotel in what had to be the least convenient place it could possibly have been. Not content to be about a foot inside the needly, unforgiving radius of a few pine trees and on a steep hill, this god damn power post also decided to be hidden behind a huge snowbank, at least 4 feet high and completely blocking my path. Wearing skater shoes and khakis, I was in no position to climb this thing. If only they had plowed the snow into a less irritating spot…
Cursing the stupidity of the snow plowers for what I’m sure won’t be the last time, I began scaling this veritable mountain of snow so that I might plug a dumb cord into a dumb outlet for some dumb dude and his dumb truck. As I began my ascent, I was pleasantly surprised that the snowplow had compacted the snow enough to allow it to support my weight. Maybe those plowers aren’t so ba-
Within a split second I find my right leg has disappeared into the fluffy, powdery pile of suffering. I sighed as I realized my mistake in stepping over the crest of the snowbank, expecting it to be as supportive of my climbing as the plowed part had been. The sigh became a laugh as I realized I had sunk just low enough to gently touch my junk down on the top of the snowbank. Beautiful. Just what I needed. Thankfully my pants were thick enough to block most of the cold wetness from getting through.
Not wanting to spend anymore time in one of God’s many varieties of idiot traps than was absolutely necessary, I leaned over to open one of the metal lids over the outlet, and let me tell you, that fucker was cold. I had not expected any of this to happen today, and had not brought my gloves with me. Oh, did I mention it was hours after the sun had set and I could only see what I was doing by the light of the lights in the parking lot? Yeah. Anyway, I looked under the lid at where the outlet should have been. Sigh.
The outlet was facing away from the light and I could not see anything at all. So, I whipped out my handy-dandy cellphone to use as a light, and promptly dropped it. I managed to grab it before it slid down the slope and out of my reach, but my left hand had been submerged in the snow. Remember that whole “subzero temperature” thing? It’s really true. I gasped as I felt my fingers go numb, but unfortunately not so numb that I couldn’t feel my fucking bones frosting over. Unable to feel my fingers anymore, I held my phone between my palm and my thumb and with an almost spiteful grunt of determination, managed to fit the three-pronged circular prongs where they needed to be.
SUCCESS! But at what cost?
Even as I walked back toward the front of the hotel I could feel my fingers thawing out and the pain just kept growing. I hid it from the man when I told him he could plug his shit in now (and no, I didn’t say “shit” to him), but once I was alone behind my desk again, I grimaced and groaned through my teeth. I had been cold before, but not like this. There isn’t a lot of natural insulation on the fingers, and I vowed subconsciously to punch whoever designed the human race’s primary tools to be so fragile right in the fucking face. I remembered something I had heard once and filled a cup with lukewarm water. I dunked my pained digits into the water. My skin felt warmer pretty quickly, but my fingerbones were still frozen. I felt like they would shatter if I moved them too much, so I sat for a blessedly quiet 10 minutes or so and waited for the pain to stop.
Eventually it did go away, but hell if I hadn’t been expecting amputation of my dead fingers within the next week.
The moral of this story is: If you are presented with an irritating challenge, and have many valid ways to get out of doing it, don’t be a hero. Chances are you don’t get paid nearly enough to literally risk your limbs to, say, heat up some guy’s truck.
“I’ve often thought that two of the most beautiful sounds in the world are a woman’s voice and a piano. Together they can bring you to the most violent extremes of human emotions – immeasurable sorrow to joyful tranquility and back again. Some day, should I fall in love, I want to play the piano for her while she sings us to sleep.”
I had posted this in another journal I used to have. I’ve decided to migrate some of my postings from there to here, as a sort of celebration of the grand opening of my new home on the internet.