Wake up to window frost. The temperature’s plummeted as they said it would. Wipe the glass, see the streets and sidewalks, cars and porches, all turned white. Chicago didn’t miss the snowfall after all.
Monday morning. All rested, a Thanksgiving in the burbs, a Black Friday indoors, a night at Landmark with the “Slumdog Millionaire.” (What’s with the fuss?) But the despair sinks in so very quickly, a physical, geographic reminder. You feel it on your skin. Weather will kill you someday. Maybe even today. Last year’s horrendous winter nearly did the trick. The season has returned with a vengeance. Outside, all cars on streets are ice cubes. The layer of snow has frozen overnight. The line of irritated drivers picking and scraping away with plastic tools creates a neighborhood-wide percussive symphony. You can’t get to your scraper, of course, because your trunk is frozen shut. You gotta use your hands.
The drive. The snow came late so salt trucks still struggle. All roads threaten. It’s freezing in this shitbox car. AM radio talks football; those frustrating Bears. We should hibernate, all of us.
Ahead, a pileup. Someone’s gotten greedy on the ice and caused a smash. The bleakness in the faces of the drivers as they call work on their cells to tell them they’ll be late, they’ve been in an accident, winter’s here and it’s decided to stay. You pass the scene, press down at a stop sign, ‘cept you don’t stop. You slide. Ten, fifteen feet, within an inch of an oblivious parked car. Somehow this seems as if this is no accident at all. (Tom Lynch)