Last year, everyone came in to work one morning expecting flurries, and by the time we had all just finished our commute through the previous night’s snow, the Metro Transit Authority announced that there would be, “an orderly shutdown” of all trains and busses beginning at noon. The radio and internet bleated warnings that anyone not forced to drive should stay home; this would effectively kill even the yellow taxis that never seem to quit. This is when Manhattan goes from bustling to buzzing as everyone scurries from work to get what is needed for a lay-in before potentially missing the last train home.
I do not hoard batteries, salt, and silver coins in the face of an oncoming disaster. My survivalist days are long past, and this is not the Midwest. We live and work in New York City mostly on an island, and if we are to be forced into confinement, we tend to go for creature comforts rather than things that could convert into currency in the event of an economic apocalypse.
My scurrying included stopping by my favorite wine shop where I picked up a few dusty bottles of a red I love, then to Amy’s Bakery to collect a couple crusty peasant loaves of bread, to a tiny shop that only did French imports for some particularly personable cheeses, to the guy nearby who had the best charcuterie, to the little grocery near the train station where the Egyptian woman behind the counter seemed personally acquainted with every olive, pear, and bunch of grapes I brought her to ring up for me, and finally — because I couldn’t carry any more — cramming into the train to the apartment of a guy I’d been seeing for a little while at the time.
I always thought his walls were too white, that there was too much severity in the apartment with its 16-foot-tall ceilings, his long wood and iron dining room table with its benches down either side, his leather sofas, his elevator that opened directly into his living room. The place was a little too gangster-chic-gone-monastic for my taste. But he was young, and it was his taste for his space. It was the opposite of where he grew up, and he needed to break away and develop his own way of expressing home; I could relate having done the same thing myself at one point.
Then the wind began to howl harder and harder, and the snow got so heavy that the apartment became detached from the city until we were the only two people left in it. Since we had chosen each other’s company out of a potential pool of 8.5 million other people in the city, this was a perfect thing.
Against the severity and fierceness of the snow, his walls seemed more creamy than white. The table was covered with our urban picnic. There was nothing to do and nowhere to go as we settled into one of the sofas for what would turn into a three-day cuddle full of movies, quiet laughter, smoking cigarettes between naps, glasses of wine, and revelations.
Things were still fairly new with us, and just playing with each other’s fingers while listening to music as night fell was exciting even though nothing more dramatic was to follow than eventually tumbling into bed to fall asleep draped over each other like a couple of snoring puppies.
We are supposed to get snow again tonight. I am a solidly, deliberately single guy this time year who is not assembling a picnic or planning a domestic adventure, but the smile on my face at the mention of a snow storm tonight means that the excitement I had over snow as a kid has crossed over to survive in adult life. I’m glad for that. Let it snow.