So, we’re seriously going to do this “winter” thing again? Really? At this advanced age? Haven’t we wasted enough plastic utensils and spilled enough oil and melted enough ice caps to avoid this nuisance? It is cold! Why? Every year when it gets this cold I get irrationally furious at the Pilgrims. Why would you stop here? You live in log cabins! You don’t have access to hoodies or temperature-controlled environments! This is not a good life choice. What I think the Pilgrims needed was a sassy Native life coach to help them out. “Here’s a picture of San Francisco. Put it on your vision board and get to steppin'”
Ugh, winter! It is still winter even now! I thought it might have ended while I was typing that paragraph but no. Every inch of skin is dry, and I am back to my natural shade of Nilla Wafer brown as opposed to my summertime hue, which is in the Nutella category. And everyone likes Nutella more than they like Nilla Wafers. I can’t even eat Nutella and I like it better. Ugh, Nilla Wafers, upgrade your life!
I just don’t understand why we have winter. I don’t see the point. Neither do bears; they fucking sleep through it, like it’s an episode of SVU that doesn’t have Stabler. All winter long I’m like, Why are we watching these two Not-Stablers stumble around New York failing at busting white slavery rings when we could be watching Stabler punch a wall and have marital problems. Ugh, SVU, upgrade your life!
The worst thing about winter is that it always tricks me. Winter has a stealthy approach, like really cocksure snake. Or the leader of white slavery ring. It’s all gently descending temperatures and entreaties of Pumpkin Spice Lattes and then BOOM! there’s a foot of dirty snow on the ground and you’re locked inside a cargo ship en route to a Russian brothel.
Here are the stages of winter, please print this out and warn your loved ones.
At first it’s like, Ooh! Scarves and cardigans! Cuddle weather!
And then, Yes! Kids in Halloween costumes! Cuteness overload!
Then, Aw, changing leaves! Smells of cider! Let’s go hiking like white people!
Then, Really, Christmas carols this early? Where do I store my gloves? Why don’t I have a better system of organization in my own damn house? Do I own gloves? What is my life even?
Then, GIVE ME ALL THE TURKEY! Give it to me! GIVE IT TO MEEEEE!
Then, Christmas carols! Yay!
Then, Christmas carols? Still? Oh, look, Love, Actually is on.
Then, Alright, enough with the Christmas carols! You know, Love, Actually is kind of sad. Laura Linney can’t have sex with the hottest man on the planet and the Sheriff from Walking Dead tries to steal Keira Knightley from his best friend? Fucked up, man. That best friend was a slave for 12 years! Can’t he catch a break?
And then it’s January and it’s cold and there’s nothing good on TV and you’re like Fuck! Got me again, winter!
Every fall my best friend Jake says that winter is a great time to get boo-ed up and hunker down under a duvet with a warm body. And this is true. But Jake is a massively successful dater and I am… not.
It’s not that I’m bad at dating it’s just that I don’t have a stealthy approach. I’m all like, Hi, I’m Eric, thanks for visiting my online profile, you seem nice enough, how do you feel about a live band and a Photo Booth at our wedding? Do you know someone who can get us on to the New York Times Weddings and Celebrations page because that’s one of my life goals? Can you sign this paper right quick? It’s for the adoption agency? THERE’S A CHILD OUT THERE WHO NEEDS MY LOVE.
To be honest, I’m not even sure what I’m looking for. It is Cuddle Weather and I am chilly, but one does not necessarily lead to the other. Winter is a tricky son of a gun.
A few weeks ago, when the air was still balmy, I went on a second date with a nurse. He was nice enough; he talked fast. I like fast talkers. Sometimes. Sometimes I’m like, “Yo, this isn’t the Christie’s Auction House, can I get a word in edgewise? And do you want that last corn muffin because I kind of had my eye on it?” We went back to his place and made out a little. In retrospect, it was kind of a meh experience. But I was so taken by the mis-en-scene that I mistook it for romance. His place was so nice! The air smelled good, the furniture looked nice, the paintings on the wall were so pretty. And he had this gorgeous white comforter, so fluffy and pristine. It made the blue checkered number I’d been using since college seem ratty and immature. I decided I had to have it.
Before I left I interrogated him on where he got literally everything in his apartment. He told me because I made it quite clear that I was a little on edge and it was going to be extremely difficult to get rid of me otherwise. And then I went out and bought it all–from the expensive comforter to the body spray to the Burt’s Bees flavored chapstick that made his lips seem less like a stranger’s. Everything.
This is a healthy coping mechanism.
After my ex-boyfriend moved out, there was a solid two week period where I would wake up every morning and refuse to get out of bed until I’d managed to convince myself not to get the lyrics to “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” tattooed on my body that day.
Okay, what are we not going to do today?
Go to a tattoo parlor…
But the lyrics are so evocative!
You’re going to regret it in like a week.
You don’t know my life.
Girl, I am serious right now. You can’t get that song tattooed on your body.
Yo, but what if I get it tattooed in Chinese so nobody knows.
Who do you know that can translate into Chinese?
I don’t know, Chinese people. Shut up.
Listen, you are carnival crazy right now and I’m going to need you to sit on your hands. Just for today.
But I’m sad!
You’ll get over it.
What if I don’t?
Then you can get the tattoo.
So, like, tomorrow?
Bitch, you testing my last nerve! Get out of this bed!
Who you think you yelling at? You better take that bass out your voice when you talking to me!
The only way that I found to resist the pull of inking my entire body with Whitney lyrics was to log on to Amazon.com and start clicking. It started with shopping for the comforter that the nurse had. I added a couple of options to my wish list, decided all were too expensive, realized I felt a little better and got out of bed.
A few days later I logged back on and bought some air fresheners. My room should smell nice, I thought. Like a rest stop bathroom. That’s classy. And I felt better and got out of bed.
A few days later I went on a play-purchasing binge. If I’m going to throw myself into work to get over this breakup, I’m going to need these. For research! I owe the Philadelphia public library $86 from a DVD copy of Die Hard I forgot to return for two months in 2009 and I’ll be damned if I’ll ever set foot in one of those socialist money traps again, so I had no choice but to buy the plays. By the Way, Meet Vera Stark: own it. Peter and the Starcatcher: own it. One Man, Two Guv’nors: own it. And I felt better and got out of bed.
Then I bought a new set of pots and pans, bright red ones with smooth white insides. And I decided I’d hang them from the rack in the kitchen and told myself one day I’d start cooking again. And I felt better and got out of bed.
Then I started buying books. The Buddha in the Attic, because a woman in my class suggested it. I Was Told There Would Be Cake, because it’s exactly what I want to title my book and I’m hoping if I just buy all the copies in the world, I can just usurp it. The Velvet Rage, because gays be crazy. And I felt better and I got out of bed.
Then I decided that the reason it was so hard to get out of bed sometimes was because my bed was old and saggy and sad. So I went to brunch one day and on my way back popped into a mattress store. I rolled around on beds in an empty warehouse while a teenaged sales associate looked on dispassionately. I flipped on to my side on a Tempurpedic and muttered, “But what will really make me happy?” Then I bought a double sided pillow top, paid for delivery, and got out of bed.
Finally, I decided to revisit the comforters, the impetus behind this spending spree. I weighed the attributes of a couple different brands; I read every insane online review; I phoned a friend. And then I hit “Buy”. And that was that. It came in a couple of days; I spread it across my new bed on a fall morning just before the temperature began to dip.
I go on a date or two a week nowadays. I always come home by myself. To my apartment full of stuff: Brene Brown books, cardigans, IKEA tables, cleaning tchotchkes, expensive pots, cheap wall art. My apartment that we picked out together. My apartment that felt half empty and echoed after he left. My apartment that I slowly filled back up, with new stuff: a painting over the spot where a picture once hung of me throwing my head back, guffawing at something he’d said; a set of colorful bowls in the bare cupboard shelf; boots on the unbalanced shoe rack; a new comforter on the empty bed.
You know, I don’t even think I like this comforter. It’s lumpy where it should be fluffy; it doesn’t look as pristine in this light. But I’ll keep it and pretend I do like it. Because it cost me $150 and I’m mysteriously out of money. And because, for now, it’s keeping me warm.