22 tagged with #winter

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Hivemind


The smell of sulfur hits my nose as soon as I step outside, and at first I mistake the fog for my eyes clouding up from the sold. There's a filmy haze in the air, and a strange quiet despite the hour of traffic.

Uninterrupted Monday mornings give me a time to catch up on all the tasks I like to perform when no one is looking. I refresh signs and clear walls and shuffle objects around to improve my ability to reach things later. The speakers mounted to the underside of my desk play WYEP, as the weekday morning DJs know exactly what song to play in order to make the most of the weather and the season; what's eerie is when the music matches my mood, and I imagine a collective mindset for all listeners, a shared feeling across the world amongst strangers I might never meet.

We all look up and see the same sky; the same sun lights up our world.

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17 February 2014 11:09


Tread Carefully, Again


"Excuse me, did you see me here?" I asked after pounding on the driver's window.

The driver was a man in his 30s, wearing glasses and a big hat, and there were young children in his car. The small sedan had backed out of the driveway at me, where I was waiting for the light to turn to my favor. I heard the sound of gears grinding into place and looked over my shoulder just in time to see the trunk-mounted bike rack, metal prongs sticking out of the little car, rushing towards me. My feet had enough traction in the slush for me to scramble backwards while the car swung around past me.

I only needed to lean forward slightly to reach the window as the he changed gears into forward drive. He looked up at me with an expression of horror that he somehow completely missed seeing a figure in a bright chartreuse jacket and orange ski goggles under broad daylight when it was no longer snowing. All I heard was my own panting breath and his idle engine when he quickly shook his head and slammed on the accelerator to get away from me.

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16 February 2014 17:35


Tread Carefully


I saw the salt-encrusted red truck start to turn onto my road before he realized he wasn't going to get the turning radius he expected, and I tensed. In a moment, all I knew was the distance between myself and every escape route possible, but none of them seemed like a plausible option. I was ready to vault onto the hood as a last resort, and he saw me at the same time his wheels suddenly became nearly useless front-mounted rudders.

The sound of tires losing traction have been haunting me this entire winter, and every winter prior. It's the only thing I truly fear when I'm riding with traffic, that a driver will lose control of their car while our vehicles are on an unchangeable trajectory towards each other. I heard those wheels spinning under the heavy load, useless scraping against the ice for an entire heartbeat before becoming drowned out by a frantic honking of the horn. I squeezed down, knowing just how much pressure my brake levers could take without sending the bike sideways underneath of me, embedding my front tire into a snowbank.

I faced the truck, which had so much snow on the hood that I couldn't even feel heat rising from the engine that idled a foot away from my chest. Breath curled out from my balaclava, lit by the truck's headlamps. I couldn't see the driver inside the dark cab, and he probably couldn't see my face behind the light well of my headlamp. I threw a hand up in equal parts helpless despair and "the hell do you want from me" in response to the honk.

My right foot was buried past the ankle in the wall of snow built by passing plows, and it came free with a lurch as I dismounted to push my bike to a clearer path so I could move on with my ride.

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10 February 2014 09:14


Dawning


Heavy snow creeps up the way a good rain never can; I didn't notice it until the dawn broke and I coal make out the contrast between the blue light of morning and the orange glow of sodium vapor lamps. One confused and over-enthusiastic bird was rapidly silenced by the blanket of snow draped over the trees, and I only realized what had happened overnight when I noticed that I could not hear the usual stream of early morning traffic. The packed snow muffles the sound of tires slapping against pavement, and only the occasional crunch of chassis against a bank of ice gave me a sign of cars on my street.

I find the most fascinating questions about humanity lying along the edges of boundaries, examining the very existence of delineations and wondering why lines, sometimes seemingly arbitrary, are drawn in one place and not another. The lines are our way of asserting that something is known, that enough knowledge has been collected in order to justify the existence of that boundary. The lines give a sense of control, a demarcation from which we can proceed; the lines are a challenge, because I never feel as motivated to do something as when someone draws a line in the sand and dares me to cross it.

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09 February 2014 19:21


Happens All the Time


"Aren't you freezing biking around in this weather?" the elctrician asked me when I wheeled my bike into the elevator. I just gave him a shrug and a grin.

"How else am I supposed to get around?"

"Well, I don't know. Do you live too far away to walk?"

"Not really, it just takes too long."

"But you won't freeze the way you would on a bike."

"Honestly, I'd rather be really cold for fifteen minutes than kind of cold for forty-five."

He watched me peeling off my outer layers and shook his head once the elevator got to my floor. "I just think you'd freeze on a bike."

"Nah, I'm fine. Take it easy!"

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07 February 2014 14:18


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