It happens every year, and every year I act as if it’s happening for the first time. To what do I refer? Oh, I’m referring to the misery that is winter in Ohio. It sneaks up on me each and every year as if I’m not going to notice, but right around January 1st it seeps through and permeates my soul. What makes it so awful, you may wonder? Well, let me tell ya…
First of all, Northwest Ohio is a flat, swampy area by summer and a desolate tundra by winter. There is nothing for the eye to see but open fields of sadness and melancholy. It’s gray here, and the trees are barren. The country miles float by as motionless as the pale moon. The closest thing to color on the horizon is a red vehicle zooming by. It’s like rotten hamburger: gray and stinky.
Besides the gray color that is Ohio in the winter, there is also the fact that the country roads are more like suggestions once the powdery nightmare starts descending. With many miles to plow and scant resources, you can bet your Eddie Bauer flannel-lined jeans that any road that isn’t a state or interstate highway is nothing short of a skating rink. Safety first? I think not. Two inches of snow can wreak havoc on the news at noon and cause general pandemonium for the morning commuters, (but I laugh at that term, morning commuters, because it seems so city-like, and clearly I am far from living in the city).
Every winter day when I have to venture out into civilization, I ask myself, ‘Why do I live here?’ I ask my mother time and again what I ever did to deserve such cruel and unusual punishment. Why the heck would you want to raise a family in Ohio? It sucks here! She never disagrees, but she reminds me that we have “family” here, and I quickly remind her that many of those so-called family members are about as useful and pleasant as menstrual cramps. We reach the conclusion that we’re moving to the dirty South just as soon as we can wrangle everyone we like into doing so. We dare to dream. I roll my eyes. Talks of winning the lottery ensue. My spirits are temporarily lifted…then the wind hits me right in the face and with it comes reality. Damn.
Ohio scoffs at me…it’s winning. It’s winning and I’m losing the will to live this January, just like every other January I can remember. Not literally of course, but January in Ohio is a real spirit-smasher. Not one blustery day passes that I don’t remind myself of the fact that there are places in this great country that never see 17 degree temperatures, frozen car doors, or hideous Carhart coats. Someday, I hope to be living in one of those places.
Did I mention it’s gray here?