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Ice-ecular Secular Sunday–thoroughly reheat before serving

January 10, 2010

Even polar bears should mind their footing

Ahhh! I love the smell of brine solution being sprayed by municipal snow plows onto freezing road surfaces in the morning. It smells like victory.

(Happy belated 79th B-Day to Robert Duvall of whom Jon Stewart at The Daily Show said “napalm in the morning” must now smell like Metamucil, proving even great actors cannot escape the ignominy of cranky bowel jokes. That is a humbling fact.)

Or it smells like potential torn tendons and ligaments.  To me, the everyman realist, at least; I’m weird like that.

I’ve been living the public transportation lifestyle for over three years now and this means a twenty minute walk from the bus stop to work in the morning. The terrain is primarily sidewalk with some suburban road shoulder, quite manageable most days, but the winter weather adds some extra degree of difficulty. And this past Thursday in LOMville, we experienced our first measurable snowfall of the season.

My nature is that of the snowbird; I have the instinct to migrate to warmer climes when the daylight gets shorter and the temperatures drop.  But my reality is that of a rivet, or screw or bolt securely fastened to some small but marginally relevant apparatus deep inside the machinery of American Capitalism. I am economically anchored here in LOMville and therefore must endure the frigid hardships of the winter. But I’m actually glad for this meteorological suffering.  It lets me get in touch with my inner polar bear which helps to balance the chi and define the self as a means to transcend the self. Indulge me for a few paragraphs as I blow hot existential air up your skirt, which is not necessarily an unpleasant thing nor a entirely sexist phrase as any true Scotsman can attest to.

It’s a snowy Thursday and I have to get to work. The bus and my feet will take care of business. My goal is set and The Way is defined. I check the Weather Channel to get an idea of the conditions I will face (and I have to suffer a certain amount of Al Roker to do this; but that particular excruciation is a post for a different day).  I prepare myself. I anticipate and insulate. Wear a hood today to fend off the wind. Carry a tuque (I rarely use this word, it was always tossel cap where grew up, but it bailed me out of a Scrabble jam I was in yesterday. Thanks Tuque! I’m glad I know you, eh,) in the knapsack in case my ears still get frosty. Heavier boots; less walking comfort but better tread. Heavier gloves and a scarf. Smear on some Chapstick and even pack a pint of sippin’ whiskey in a pocket (you know, in case I get stranded in a suburban snow drift and have to bitterly hang on until discovered by some self-involved, stressed out motorist and saved by a dog-sledded Neighborhood Watch emergency rescue team. I have never seen a St. Bernard on this trek before. I can’t take a chance that the golden retrievers around here will remember to bring the brandy; they are a loyal but often flighty breed).

Thus prepared I enjoy the carefree (carefree for me at least) coach ride to my drop point. I try to completely relax on the chauffeured part of the trip in order to be fresher for my exertions in the last twenty minutes because they are exertions that require a heightened awareness in order to perform safely. Once I disembark to the street corner, it’s less of me versus my environment and my environment is challenging by changing practically each step of the adventure.  I have to be more cautious of vehicular traffic. Do they see me? How quickly and safely can they stop if I slip or slow down or have to divert? I have to constantly evaluate the terrain as I walk. Is that snow blowing across dry pavement or is it disguising a patch of ice? Will I get better traction moving through virgin snow or along the beaten path?

I have to constantly evaluate myself. The sensory input is high and it alters my physicality. The eyes and ears are on constant alert for threats and hazards so the adrenaline spikes. The coldness and activity encourage my heart to pump quicker to get more blood to the extremities. The quicker heart asks the lungs to shovel in more oxygen. The sweat glands work to prevent overheating. I gauge my forward momentum as I approach what could be black ice in the middle of the crosswalk. I have become very aware of the amount of weight I shift to the ball of my foot and the precise direction the weight comes from. I am very conscious of the important lateral stabilizing function performed by my pinky toe!! Very, very few are the situations where I have been acutely aware of why that toe survives the evolutionary process. Thursday is a revolution of revelation of the LOM mind.

That twenty minute walk in adverse conditions is a meditation in complete existential self-awareness for me.  The safe arrival at the Cube Farm after such an integrated, focused exercise delivers a tantric payoff.   I want to drink strong coffee and eat a slab of bacon then go back outside and play all day in the snow. The last thing I want is to sit down to a desk full of work. But work is the reality of the rivet which dictates I trudge through the blizzards and thereby makes me aware of my little toes and thus forces me to enjoy a bleak and blustery day.

I guess American Capitalism is what I choose to make of it.

(Unofficial snowfall total in LOMville for Thursday: 4 inches. No None of LOM’s tendons, muscles or ligaments (anterior cruciate or otherwise) were actually harmed by the reality of Capitalism, {this time}. Yea Money!!)

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I’ve been slacking off with regard to my Mad Men Studies this week because I somehow mysteriously got sidetracked reading about the newly released results of a G-Spot orgasm study and the ensuing imbroglio. I’m beginning to realize you can’t discuss Mad Men without discussing misogyny and sexism, and you can’t thoroughly discuss and understand sexism without discussing sex. And discussing sex is fun. Maybe next week will be “Secular Sexular Sunday”.

I’m taking tonight to watch “Red in the Face” and “The Hobo Code“.  I think I spotted the beginning of Don’s dissatisfaction with Roger in “New Amsterdam“.  Pete has pitched his own idea to a client. Don fires him and goes to Roger, who supports Don completely. They go to see Cooper to explain and Don watches as Bert patronizes Roger enough to flip him around on Don; to eventually see the logic of Pete’s retention. Don’s will is subverted and I think this is where he begins the deconstruction of his friendship with Roger. This display of Roger’s lack of resolve and power when confronted by Cooper’s will starts to turn Don sour on Roger, and Roger’s behavior and weakness in the upcoming episodes will only add fuel to Don’s disaffection with him.  The quick sight gag when before entering Bert’s office they take off their shoes and Don looks comically at how short Roger has just gotten, is as much for the omen of declining stature symbolism as it is for laughs I think. Of course hitting on Betty in her own kitchen a few episodes hence doesn’t help either.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Ruth permalink
    January 11, 2010 10:29 am

    That polar bear is gorgeous!

    I wonder whether all Don’s father figure relationships are doomed to failure because Don has never resolved his problems with Archie… Archie let him down and consequently he’s waiting for his substitutes to let him down too – he’s waiting to be disappointed. Isn’t the whole message of Shut the Door that Don has to grow up and put himself on the line? Mind you I agree that hitting on Betty didn’t help… wonder if Roger was familar with the work of Prof Grafenberg?

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