January 5th and it finally feels like winter proper: snow, minimal, but still definitely that white stuff that has no business down here in the cities; swirling flurries that cut your vision short and make you regret riding your bicycle without ski goggles, regret that there’s no bike version of snow mobiles; children wasting their precious homework hours outside building snow… snowpeople (could be a woman, could be a man) with the itty little bit of the stuff that’s available in these climate-changed times; an overpowering urge to stay inside and enjoy the benefits of indoor heating, light and having a cooker; a sense of blessedness for not enjoying any winter sport and instead reading up on good literature; a faint nostalgia for the beach which will turn into rigorous shunning of same by mid-july; all the hibernal sentiments basically.
How many times can one write about winter? An infinite number of times, sadly or happily, depending on mood swings [of which there seem to be plentiful] and weather patterns [getting more freakish by the annum]. This might start creating the impression that the wintry season puts me in a poetic mood, that like that french guy, in the depths of winter i discovered some eternal summer of the soul. But I haven’t. I keep rediscovering [like a gadfly busting it’s head for the n-th time against a window] that no matter how freakishly healthy one might be during the rest of the year, some bloody virus will lay your behind low come december, january, february. As well as your [my] feverish dreams of immortality.
And you wake up one morning feeling helpless as a babe and forty years older and at the hands of an ungrateful bastard of a body. With a jolt it seems like the chronological halfway point of winter is a very theoretical construct and that in fact you are stuck in the dead middle.
Personally speaking, i also always have the creeping sense that whatever illness I have come down with is not nearly as bad as I make myself believe it is. Meaning I could go to work, I could go to the gym, I could rise at a decent hour. To make this perception worse, there is the associated feeling that other people pick up on my sense of hypochondry or maladic fraudulence or whatnot….and that they subsequently don’t really feel i deserve any type of special patient-grade attention that could potentially save me from a further complication of my illness [pneumonia?] but that, instead, they now in a show of forced goodwill are obliged to play along and also make-believe that I am very sick [e.g. make a cup of tea] when, actually, I just have a slight cold. Around noon, when the vertigo, sickness and headache kick in properly, these self-conscious fantasies usually disappear into germ-infested air. Just to reappear in the evening, when all of the day’s torpor and head-clutching and doddering gait yet again seem exaggerated and ridiculous and, perhaps above all, needy in an infantile way that fits in badly with a hard-earned sense of adulthood [paying bills, going through tax forms, establishing a hierarchy of folders, buying milk and vegetables, etc.]. In my case.
What a powerful, sublime juxtaposition. Of course there have been other Hitler experts, Kershaw and Ullrich come to mind, but make one up and transport him backwards in time to such a pre-loaded year: what a coup! And what a jibe to the Humanities; you make up disciplines as you go along, don’t you? Then cut to a maximum blast of everydayness.