I’m snowed in, deep in the heart of Texas.
Snowpocalypse Now. Snowmageddon. Eldritch snowclopean architecture, turning Lubbock Texas into a silent white field.
This probably looks like nothing to those of you from snowy places. You are probably laughing at me right now. You have every right to. Just know that in Lubbock, the Last Days have come.
The roads are frozen solid. The streets are deserted. Every half hour or so a lone car creeps by at walking speed. Mostly there’s just the roar of the wind, and the endless pinging of hail on everything.
Somewhere Jim Morrison is crooning “My only friend, the end…” while I lie on my back and stare at the spinning ceiling fan, except instead of fiery napalm on palm trees it’s snow falling on more snow, and hail the size of BB pellets that lashes at your face when you trudge across the street to Target to order whatever they have that passes for a hot meal. They have chicken tenders, which are actually not bad.
Outside Target I exchanged nods with a woman who sat smoking Marlboro Blacks on a bench with her hood up. She said something I couldn’t hear over the wind, but I caught the general tone and said “Yup.” What is there to say, really? This speaks for itself. We’re all here.
A gang of kids are shoveling snow outside my door. They’re having a great time. As I walked up to my door they asked me, “Is this yours?” and I said “Yup” and they said, “You want us to clear away the snow?” and I said “That’d be awesome, guys, thanks” and now I’m wondering if I should slip them a few bucks. I’m thinking about the time I was trying to drag four heavy suitcases across the Central Station in Bologna, and I hired a troupe of gypsies to help me, and I ended up on the train platform staring down a Rom with a gold tooth and a tiny knife who told me 10 euros was nothing and he was really entitled to everything in my wallet, and I got into a shouting match with him that ended with me 15 euros poorer and un-knifed. These kids outside my door today seem harmless, but maybe that in itself merits a fiver.
Mostly what I do is pace, and write a little, and do push-ups, and write some more, and do crunches, and pace some more, and sip coffee that started tasting too sweet about two cups back, and look out the window at the hail on snow, and then write a little more.
I’m trying to bang out a piece for a client, but today I’m either feeling too self-centered or else I just can’t find the groove of the thing. This doesn’t feel like me. I’m the guy who bangs pieces out while everyone else is looking for their muse. “Mood’s a thing for cattle and love play, not fighting [or writing -ed.],” Gurney Halleck says in Dune. Hell yeah. Why do I keep staring out the window at the hail?
I’ve been in this room, recharging, going on 48 hours now. I’m fully charged. Green battery. 100%. Any more charging and the electricity is going to come crackling out of me. I bounce on tiptoe and throw some jabs, crosses, jab-crosses, jab-cross-hooks. Man, I don’t know where I’m going, but it’s time to go.
Wait — the sound of hail just stopped. The wind’s died down. I open the curtain and now it’s white-out snow, hard and fierce.
Crank up that thermostat. Put another kettle on. Looks like it’s gonna be one of those nights.