Walking in a winter wonderland.

Fact: I am still just as excited to wake up and see snow outside my window as I was when I was an itty bitty kidlet.

Only now I have a better camera than when I was an itty bitty kidlet, so it’s possible that these days I’m even more excited.

I left my car at home today. The only thing worse than trying to get up our steep driveway in the snow is trying to get back down it.

Instead I took about fifteen “me” minutes to just walk around in the white stuff and be enveloped by the stillness that came with it as it wafted softly down. I photographed the silent streets and breathed deep breaths of fresh, crisp air until my heart was as light and carefree as a helium balloon.

Then I reluctantly acknowledged the reality that it was Monday and I had places to be.

I joined a line of some two dozen texting and muttering people waiting anxiously for a bus. Approximately three minutes later, we got the word from a kindly couple in a truck that there were five buses stuck down at the bottom of the hill and not to get our hopes up that they’d be heading our way any time soon. At that, about three quarters of the line dispersed. Out of some misguided sense of duty, I decided to wait another ten minutes before giving up.

Exactly ten minutes later, the bus arrived.

Figures.

Two transfers later I was on a community shuttle, seated directly in front of a bunch of college kids who were just not having it.

“Who was it that told me it never snows in Richmond? Who? Was it you, man?”
“Nope, not me dude. I said it was gonna snow Sunday, remember?”
“Some motherfucker told me it doesn’t snow in Richmond. When I remember who it was, I’m gonna punch him in the face.”
“Heh. I kinda hope, like, class is cancelled, but at the same time I kinda hope it isn’t because I came all this way.”
“Seriously man, I know someone told me it never snows in Richmond. When I remember who, I’m gonna kick his ass. Punch him right in the face. This is bullshit.”
“You should, like, drive over to his place and block his car in. Be all, ‘How do you like it?'”
“And then I’ll pack his exhaust with snow. Freeze his carburetor.”
*laughter*

They got off the shuttle at the first stop, still churning out increasingly outlandish threats to the mystery misinformer. I had to stifle a smile as they passed by.

The silence closed back in around us when they had gone.

We drove onward.

I arrived at work an hour and twenty minutes late. The snow is still falling softly outside the window.

I am happy.

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TGIFluffy.

As if the fact that today is Friday weren’t cause enough for celebration, the Boss Lady decided to bring her dog in to visit on her day off. He’s two years old and full of energy, and we all just spent a considerable amount of time chasing him around the office and talking to him in silly voices to watch his head tilt madly back and forth.

This may very well be the closest I ever come to having anything resembling job satisfaction.

*sigh* I need a dog, dammit.

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Beauty and the ginger beard.

I saw it coming.

I willed him to just keep walking; the man with the flannel shirt and shocking red beard and the joint perched jauntily in one hand. Move along, move along, nothing to see here. But he was slowing already, drifting over to where I stood with my camera and bringing with him the acrid stench of cheap weed and stale body odor.

I tried to ignore him. The sun had set and I was losing light fast. I adjusted my settings and snapped off a few more shots.

But when I pulled back from the viewfinder, he was at my shoulder, staring at me expectantly. “…Eez eet beauteeful?” he asked in a startlingly thick French accent.

When I didn’t respond, he gestured toward the rapidly dimming scene and then at my camera. “Eez eet beauteeful?” he repeated. I paused, weighing my options; I didn’t need a repeat of Angry Tree Lady. Eventually I shrugged noncommittally and said “I think so,” and returned my attention to the camera.

He nodded and turned away – I assumed to leave – but he only wandered a short distance before stopping again. I could see him in my peripheral vision standing some feet away, looking intently back and forth between my subject and I as if trying to solve some sort of advanced mathematical equation.

A few more shots and adjustments later, I finally arrived at an image I was happy with. Red Beard perked up visibly as I began packing up my gear. I could see the anticipation in his eyes before the question was out of his mouth.

“Eet eez beauteeful?” Such hope infused into the words.

This time I didn’t hesitate. “Yes,” I replied, smiling despite myself.

At that he grinned, and threw his arms outward as if to embrace the sky. And he strolled away down the darkening road, whistling into the evening air.

A/S/L

My best friend Katie and I used to love going into chatrooms back when those were all the rage. It was our third favorite winter pastime, right after hanging out in the hot tub drinking hot chocolate and playing the Nintendo 64.

We weren’t interested in the least in actually chatting about anything. Our sole intent was to see how quickly we could get one of the guys in any given room to ask us to cyber with them.

Granted, most of the time it wasn’t exactly the pinnacle of challenges. Sometimes all it took was answering “Female” to the “S” in “A/S/L?” and they were already tripping into a private room with their pants around their ankles.

Beneath this pillow lies the keyboard to my release.

Not to mention our screen name of choice, “Icegirl”, would inevitably provoke at least one instance of, “Hey Icegirl, I bet I can warm you up!” per session without fail.

But the more gentlemanly types, the ones who at least pretended not to have virtual booty on the brain – though we all of us knew better – provided much better sport. We would choose our mark carefully and then go to work batting him around like a cat playing with a stunned mouse. Flirt. Demur. Lead on. Rebuff. Pout. Forgive. Laugh.

Eventually either our prey’s temper or libido would win out. We were pleased with either outcome. Angry accusations that we were a “cold bitch” were met with the scornful response, “Well, what did you expect from someone called Icegirl?” Invitations to cyber resulted in our untimely “accidental” disappearance offline followed by peals of laughter, because clearly we were terrible people.

That was twenty years ago. It’s been a long time since I’ve thought any kind of “games” of that sort were fun. Truthfully, I can’t for the life of me understand why we thought being such little dipshits was so entertaining. And yet, for some reason, I still think back on those chilly winter evenings and chuckle at my time as half an Icegirl.

Memory is a strange thing.

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A little less conversation.

I have a little accordion folder of random bits of conversation that I either think up or overhear in passing and file away for later.

For some reason I always think they’re going to come in handy. Like I’ll be writing a story and be stuck on finding the right bit of dialogue for two characters, but *BOOM* my magic little accordion folder comes to the rescue with the absolute perfect one-liner for the situation.

This has yet to happen.

So around once a year I go through the thing, remove all the torn bits of paper with their random scrawlings, read them, toss out all the “Why the fuck did I think this was funny?” entries, and return the rest to the folder.

You know, just in case.


“WTF. My ex Tony became a fan of “Not being set on fire” on Facebook. How stupid can you be?”

“No kidding. I would never put my weaknesses on display like that.”

“…I have a lighter.”

“I have an alibi.”


“My IQ doesn’t know whether to go up or down right now.”


“What about her?”

“Nah, I slept with her back in college.”

“Wasn’t any good?”

“No, she was fine.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

“Do as I say, not who I’ve done.”


“Guess what? I’m in love!”

“Somebody get me a chair so I can fall off it.”


“I’ll have the fill-it mag-non.”

“You know, there’s a reason why the French hate you.”

“That’s a pretty stereotypical thing to say about Americans.”

“Not Americans, Bob. Just you.”


“Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.”

“For god’s sake stop. You sound like a chicken with Tourette’s.”


“Yes, it’s malfunctioning correctly.”


“I’m sure you’re an intelligent and honest man.”

“Thank you. If I weren’t under oath, I’d return the compliment.”

“Your Honour, I’d like my next remark stricken from the record.”


A bad memory can be good for the waistline.

Every so often Nutty Hubby remarks that he’s impressed by my willpower because he always goes through his frozen treats in a matter of days, whereas I manage to make mine last several weeks or more.

Yes. “Willpower.” Absolutely that and not “I totally forgot I bought myself a box of Double Caramel Magnums two (or was it three?) Fridays ago…”

Out of sight, out of mind.

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Santa’s flirtshop.

Please.

Somebody tell me it’s not just Nutty Hubby and I that snicker like little children every time we see this Advent calendar at the drugstore.

I dare you to tell me Little Miss Jingle Bell Hat over there doesn’t look like she wants Little Mister Navel Tunic* to do things to her with his paintbrush that he’s only read about on 4chan.

Seriously, look at her. Girlfriend’s almost giving herself a case of the Exorcist neck cricks to shoot him those come-hither eyes. She’s bent over that dollhouse (or cabin or whatever the fuck it’s supposed to be) popping her booty with more enthusiasm than a Kardashian trying to break the internet. I swear she’s five seconds or less away from just breaking down and rearranging all the alphabet blocks in the workshop to read “JESUS CHRIST ARE YOU BLIND WOULD YOU PLEASE JUST FRIGGIN’ JUMP MY BONES ALREADY?”

That’s probably why the dollhouse/cabin monstrosity looks so sad and crappy. She’s spent all day fantasizing about Navel Boy in his little red tights instead of doing her stupid job.

So if you get a shitty gift this year, now you know who to blame.

Damn horny elves.

*I would really like to know why the artist felt it necessary to include that navel. It…haunts me.

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