Slab of gloom, dash of doom


Blech. After spouting off about how much I love January, it’s now time to turn over the coin.

What’s bad about winter in Michigan? Days like today. Gray. Wet. Not cold but not warm. No snow. In the hierarchy of Michigan weather, this ranks at the very bottom for me. I’ll take a blizzard over this. I’ll take a tornado.

This is three-day-old leftover meatloaf weather. It’s cheesy ’70s love ballad weather. It’s pilled rayon stretched-out brown sweater weather.No amount of coffee and chocolate can compensate for days such as these, when the air temperature is warm enough to melt the snow — the shiny white frosting that covers the fetid cake beneath: a marbled mix of frozen earth, sodden trash and melting dog crap on a bed of dead grass and salt-stained concrete. Yummy.

In spite of this negative report, I unfolded the stroller and hit the pavement, desperate to brighten this dull day. What I observed along the path: Not many others out today, only the diehard joggers and students (I live by a school); a crew to rival that of “Extreme Home Makeover” quickly replacing a home roof, along with some frenzied carpet cleaners guiding a humming vacuum hose through the front door while appliance store workers wheel washer, dryer, refrigerator and stove through a side door. Can someone say insurance claim?

I observed copious amounts of dog poop and local fast-food restaurant trash all over lawns and sidewalks — I guess folks just get lazy in the colder months, counting on Mother Nature to cover up their sins; tattered, faded evergreen garland still clinging to porch rails and gutters no longer looks pretty, time to remove signs of Christmas; and even the nicest lots with the best landscaping looks forlorn in this light.

Moods are down. I met a woman today visiting from out west to care for her daughter, who just gave birth.

I don’t know how anyone can live here, she says to me. It’s awful. No wonder so many people here are depressed. I can’t wait to get back home.

Thanks, lady. That means a lot to those of us trapped here.

I wanted to defend this area, point out how we are tough, we can handle it, how there’s a good side to all this.

But who am I kidding? Based on the phone conversations I’ve had in the past week, everyone I know is either contemplating suicide, going to the tanning bed to combat SAD, drinking heavily, or packing for a Caribbean cruise.We aren’t tough, we just cope with whatever works to fend off the gloom and doom. So, if you don’t mind, I’m going to put on my polyester sweater, heat up the meatloaf and listen to some Debby Boone.

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