2017. One month in. February 1st. The winter has been tough. Mentally, socially, emotionally but even more so physically! The roughest winter since 2007 or so I’m told. 50 inches of snow just in December. Crazy cold. Like negative double digits cold.
And now it’s February. The shortest month of the year and in North Dakota typically the coldest. It’s the time of year when the temperature will swing from 39 or 40 above to -2 at night. Last week we had a warm up and a lot of the snow on the ground began to melt. A welcomed sight for sure. The last few days temps have returned down to the teens and single digits. So all of that slush has again turned to ice.
Wednesday’s are my day off. I enjoy having a day off in the middle of the week so if I need to get anything done around town, I can. I’d prefer two days off in a row but that’s not in the cards just yet or at least at my current job. But it’s Wednesday and I have it off. After making my usual stops around town, I figured I’d been out long enough and I should be heading home.
I drive home, pull in the driveway, hit the button, the garage door goes up and I drive inside. Nothing out of the norm here. Like clockwork, I look around the interior of the car to see if there’s anything to take in – nope not today. Ah yes, it’s time to check the mailbox. I open the car door, look down at all the dirt, gross sand and road sludge on my garage floor, tell myself I should sweep that out when it’s warmer out… like it was last week… and make my way down the drive. Following my own trail of footprints, the snow and ice make that familiar crunch under my feet. I’m surprised I haven’t worn a hole through the driveway as often as I make this same trip everyday.
Going to my mailbox everyday is a new surprise. Often times expecting something, usually a bill (or four) or I find myself disappointed, walking away empty handed. Although sometimes you forget about that 3am eBay purchase until it shows up! I wasn’t expecting anything today but you never know. It was probably about 5:15 or so and it was already starting to get a little dark out. I arrive at my target. Nothing in the box…
I pause to take a look around and am glad to see that the icy road has melted quite a bit. You can see pavement again which is rare in the wintertime here. It makes me think that I just might make it through this winter after all. My last winter. It reinforces the promise that seasons do change. It’s a good feeling.
As I turn to walk back to my front door, I watch my feet fly in slow motion in the air as I land HARD. Right on my ass. While the ice on the street had melted, the ice on my driveway did not. In spots, yes, but yesterday’s slush had returned to ice. My first thought was – I’ve broken my ass. I landed right on my George Costanza wallet. Nice and uneven. I’m sure the entire event looked just like an old Tom and Jerry cartoon when Tom gets hit on the head, his legs go straight out and he falls hard and stiff as a board on his back. A one man car wreck… minus the car.
With no one around to witness or enjoy my crash landing, I thought about the fact that there is no one around to help if I really did get injured. That bummed me out. Another “bonus” of being alone. I wonder if Life Alert would work this far from the house? I laid there for what I’m sure a was only a few minutes but felt like at least an hour. You tend to think about a lot when you’re lying half in the street and the driveway. I was secretly hoping for a car to come by and just do me in. No luck.
I figured since no cars or trucks came screaming by, either to rescue me or run me over, I should probably get up and go inside. I moved my feet to see if they still worked. Yep. At least that’s a good sign. When you land hard, unexpectedly on your ass, it sends a shockwave through your entire body. It’s not a normal thing, or at least for me anyway, to not only fall but fall on my ass like that. It hurt to move. It hurt to breathe. It hurt to think. While I hadn’t been there long enough to completely freeze to the ground, the connection was starting to form. I was becoming one with the Earth. I’m not going to lie, there was a few moments I felt like Han Solo breaking free from his carbonite prison.
I stood up and assessed the situation. No rips or tears. No blood. My prides been long gone by this point. My pants, my jacket, pretty much half of me was wet. All of me was sore. I must have hit my head too because the back of my head was wet and hurt. I reached back, knocked the snow off of my pants and took my wallet out. I don’t know if it was a blessing or a curse having it back there but I immediately felt the pain it had a hand in creating.
Here’s an odd, side part of the story. When I walked out to check the mail, in my left hand I had a fountain pop from Qdoba. A delicious blend of Barq’s Root Beer with just the right amount of vanilla flavoring. After all of this human carnage and physical mayhem I had put my body through, the cup was still in my hand. Not a drop spilled. I didn’t even crush the cup, not even a little bit. I’m not sure how that happened. I wasn’t trying to avoid spilling it. It happened so fast, I had no time to react. My right hand and wrist were smashed to beat hell but I was grateful my watch wasn’t mangled!
The walk back towards the garage was slow and deliberate. Each step pre-selected and carefully placed. If I could have seen myself from above, I’m pretty sure I would have looked like I’d escaped from the set of the Walking Dead. I made it back into the garage, dusted myself off, lowered the garage door and went inside.
I sat on my stairs, above the pink step (read my last blog for that story), took my shoes off and immediately regretted sitting down. Ouch. I’m not as young as I sometimes fool myself into thinking. No one is going to get to enjoy this blue and black bruise that’ll probably show up. Bummer. I said to myself “Wasn’t 2017 supposed to be the greatest year ever?! Wasn’t all of this shitty stuff supposed to end in 2016?!” Just then the Byrds song “The Ballad of Easy Rider” popped into my head…
The river flows
It flows to the sea
Wherever that river goes
That’s where I want to be
Flow river flow
Let your waters wash down
Take me from this road
To some other town
There is no magic year. While 2016 was a terrible year for me, for others it was their best. I’m sure today won’t be the last time that I fall and bust my ass. It’ll hurt for a moment and I’ll expertly curse. But I will get up. I will get up.