By Emily Erickson
I know a guy who absolutely hates winter. His face turns sour at the first sign of fall — a crumpled expression like the brown and gold leaves soon to be blanketing the ground. He cringes at the sight of pumpkins perched on front porches, with their mean, carved faces staring as an omen of the dreaded season to come. He groans in disgust when stores start shifting their stock, their neat window displays swapping out tank tops and sandals for woolen socks and sweaters.
This guy recently dropped by my house, with its warm glow a contrast to the wintery scene around it, and I knew I was in for his contemptuous cloud of seasonal disdain. But, as he hopped out of his truck in shorts and a sun hat, he met me with an expression that wasn’t exactly sour. Instead, it was hard-lined and stubborn, with a decided set of features that made him look immovable.
“Hello?” I greeted him with a confused tone, cracking open the door while pulling on my big, heavy jacket. “How are you?”
In a mixture between a grunt and grumble, he retorted, “Fine, fine. Everything’s fine.”
I pulled a knitted hat over my ears and trudged to the gate, leaving snowy boot prints in my wake. In an attempt to skirt around the questions like, “Why are you here?” and “What’s with the shorts?” I settled on, “How about this weather, huh? It’s like winter arrived overnight.”
At this, fire shot into his eyes and his nostrils sharpened into narrow points. “Summer’s not over,” he barked with finality.
Not getting the joke, I squirmed in discomfort, chuckling awkwardly through pointed gestures at the wintery scene around me.
“I’m serious,” he responded. “This isn’t winter. The snow isn’t even real. Big trucks drove around to everyone’s house in the middle of the night and dumped it here. It’s fake. I heard on good authority they manufactured it up the mountain to keep us all from continuing to use our boats on the water. It’s fake.”
Shocked by the absurdity of his statement, I prodded him, grasping for any bit of clarity I could find. “What do you mean this isn’t winter? What about the ice coating all the roads? It’s so slick out there!”
“That’s not real ice,” he replied with a conspiratorial air. “They mixed glass into the asphalt so it would look like ice, but it’s not real ice. They’re trying to keep us from driving our cars.”
My thoughts swam at the ridiculousness of that conclusion, with one contradicting thought after another nearly bursting from my mouth. I wondered, “What about the ice on the dirt roads?” and, “Logistically, how could that even be close to possible without someone — anyone — with authority finding out?”
Instead of being blunt, I asked, “And the temperature? What about these freezing winds? It’s as blustery today as any winter day I’ve ever experienced.”
Through gritted teeth and a glare, he spat his reply: “That, I guess, depends on what weather station you’re watching. If you only listen to broadcasts run by winter-lovers, you’re only going to get one side of the story. In fact, just this morning I watched a very professional YouTube video by a person with a weather education certificate explaining that winter isn’t even a real season. She described, with statistics, that it’s actually quite warm outside right now. And, I mean, who are you going to trust?”
Considering this conversation a lost cause, I shrugged my shoulders and flexed my fingers inside my warm, winter gloves. A frigid breeze swept across the property, and I knocked an icycle off the edge of my gate.
“Interesting thoughts,” I concluded, dismissively. “Thanks for stopping by.”
He turned on his heel, with the edges of his hat flopping in the wind. As he picked a path through the snow in his shorts, he turned around for one last incredulous glare. He cranked open the door to his truck but, before hopping inside, he hoisted a large, yellow flag above the cab, boldly stating, “Always Summer.”
Turning over the key and revving the engine, he peeled out of my driveway, his tires spitting snow and ice out from under him. As the yellow flag whipped in the frigid wind and the truck began to fade into the snowy distance, he leaned out the window, shouting “Not My Winter!”
Disclaimer: This story was not based on true events. Well, not all of it, anyhow.
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