Thursday, January 28, 2010

They tell me it's just cabin fever...

It's been snowing on and off for a few days, and it's cold outside. It's not like a full-blown storm; the kind where you wake up to find the dullness and lack of foliage has been magically converted to a winter wonderland...oh no. It's just cold enough to make folks cranky. Midday, the sun peeks out long enough to morph the dingy piles of snow that line the street into gutter Popsicles that send you skidding ass-over-teakettle if you don't step carefully. I find it best to stay inside, encased in flannel pajamas, eating anything withing reach, as long as it's chock full of fat and sugar. Eventually I'll put a dent in my snack supply and have to venture out to the only grocery store in town to forage for cheese puffs and cookies that have little or no nutritional value.

I'm starting to grasp the concept of light deprivation, and have been indulging in a little California dreamin'.

Forget that California has been drenched lately-I'm using selective memory. I'm recalling that this time of year it had been my habit to dash out to any number of shopping destinations, needing only a light sweater for warmth. (I'm choosing not to remember that I had to sit in a lot of traffic to get to my destination, or circle a gigantic lot several times in order to find a place to park... that goes along with the 'selective' part) The other part of this self-observation- my California dreamin' always revolves around food.

My dreary mood deepened when it hit me that I can't do what I used to do...walk a couple of blocks for a quick lunch of linguine with clams at La Veranda or the best enchiladas in the civilized world at the New Mecca Cafe. Then there's the shopping. I want to go to Trader Joes. And where in hell can I find a Costco? Whole Foods? (You're right, it's a full-blown whine) Why can't we have BevMo here? Just their malted milk balls alone would be reason enough to want that retailer close by. I just wonder: Exactly how long can a person stay sane without a fresh loaf of real sourdough bread? (sourdough is NOT the same unless it's from SF...) The harsh reality that I'm not a quick drive from all the conveniences I had my entire adult life feels like a knock to the head.

This whining-pathetic-I've-got-the-ick-mood doesn't come around all that often, (and may has a little something to do with the funky weather) but when it does- no amount of on-line shopping as a substitute will help. It's just not the same as the hands-on-face-to-face-brick-and-mortar-experience.

I think of my friends and son in CA and imagine how different their days are...and all that they still have within easy reach. I talk to my youngest son in NY while he's on the train, heading into Manhattan, and realize how dissimilar his world looks to mine...(yes, of course I'm envious of his access to good Chinese food and the wealth of other ethnic restaurants) and I feel like the kid who had to leave a party while it's still in full swing.
In the quiet of the evening that presents itself whenever there is a light snow falling, I hear a wise voice and a little bit of 'Grandma Wisdom' coming at me. "This too shall pass" I know that refers not just to the bleak weather, but the bleak attitude as well. Wait a bit and it will change.

I knew the moodiness wouldn't last...this time around all it took was a trip to Grand Junction and exposure to a collection of big box stores and chain restaurants to snap out of it. I got to come home with the knowledge that there's a Best Buy, Target, Borders and Starbucks that exist within the same area code, and if I want to go there badly enough to sit in the car for an hour and a half, I can. Truthfully, it was comforting to return to a town that does not have a fast food franchise within its city limits. To a place where chances are, if you go out for a meal, the food you're eating came from a few miles away rather than a few thousand miles. A place where if you stop and chat with the clerk at the one and only grocery store, the person behind you won't get angry and impatient, and want you to hurry up and get out of the way. Maybe there's something to be said for coming in from the cold- perhaps it's just a matter of perspective.

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