Winter arrives in Rochester / My mind wanders
Midway though February, winter has finally arrived in Rochester. Subzero temperatures over the weekend and about a foot and a half of snow on Monday night / Tuesday morning and afternoon. There were snow warnings last night, but Allison and I ignored them and went to the movies and then to sleep with a shrug. We had been lulled into a sense of complacency by the mild winter so far. This morning, we awoke to about a foot of snow, and it kept coming down.
We were excited by the prospect of a snow day but could only drink coffee and watch Better Call Saul reruns for so long. At about one in the afternoon, we decided to shovel Jolene out.
Seeing Jolene buried in the driveway like that, I was reminded of the terrible condition of the old gal's undercarriage. I could feel the snow pressing against her, seeping into the cracks, working its way into the rust. I wanted to dig her out as fast as possible, maybe take her for a spin around the neighborhood, so that she wouldn't feel utterly neglected—plus I was feeling antsy after all that coffee. Allison seemed eager for adventure too, but I was concerned that if I attempted backing out of the driveway, I would hit the mail truck across the street. Allison had no such qualms.
The plan was to go to Dunkin' Donuts on Monroe Avenue near downtown, but the driving conditions were treacherous enough that we decided against even attempting to pull into the parking lot. Instead we would just stop off at 7-Eleven then head home. Cars were getting stuck everywhere, or breaking down—we spotted one at the intersection of Field Street and Monroe Avenue with its front left tire folded up underneath it, about to be loaded onto a tow truck. The further we drove, and the more I watched other cars struggle, the more I appreciated Jolene.
"She is a Subaru," Allison reminded me.
It's hard to believe now, but I almost scrapped Jolene seven months ago in Bozeman, Montana. She'd broken down twice on the drive out west, including in the parking lot of a strip club in Bozeman (I should really finish writing that story), and the local mechanics told me she was worthless. Too rusty to salvage, they said. I'd been ripped off, plain and simple. My friend Laura—my erstwhile "life coach" back in New York—encouraged me to sell Jolene too. She could tell how anxious the whole situation was making me ...
But what am I talking about? "Jolene" didn't have a name back then. The only reason she has one at all is because Allison knew that if we were going to take a road trip together, we ought to name the car. It might help me hate the damn thing less, she said. So "that rusty piece of shit" became "Jolene." I don't think she would have made it another 7,000 miles otherwise. But at this point I still hadn't even driven to Portland yet, much less met Allison or asked her to come with me when I left town three months later.
We drove the entire length of California, across Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas—Allison, Jolene, and I—then through Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania before ending up back in Rochester.
That took two months. It already feels like a long time ago. Those hot summer nights back in Portland that we spent drinking wine and smoking cigarettes on the porch—that feels like a dream. We've been in Rochester two months now as well. We started at 90 degrees on the West Coast, jumping off waterfalls and lying on the beach, and now we're buried under 18 inches of snow on East Coast, going to the YMCA in the morning and the movies at night ...
Winter in Rochester is a state of mind. It requires indoor projects. Mental fortitude. But occasional outdoor activities as well. Maybe I should take up snowboarding. Or at least buy some proper boots.
I told Allison to mention to her new Vietnamese friend at the nail salon that we're thinking about going there next.