It was, quite simply, my worst schlep to Hawthorne Station after over three years in this racket.
The morning’s weather was a peculiar hodgepodge of what the cheery weather folk call “wintry mix” and what can only be described as “Satan’s potpourri”–a driving freezing rain blown sideways by torrential winds, giant puddles of slush from the night’s wet snow, and rivers of fresh precip gushing down both edges of the street.
As I set wet foot on Pythian, I prayed a friendly neighbor or even a stranger–hey, it’s happened twice–would take pity on my soggy ass and drive me to the train.
When I turned right onto Broad, the wind hit me with full force. It was a wind that seemed to pick up momentum, like a runaway snowball, as it blew off the Atlantic, strafed Nova Scotia, rolled down the eastern cliff of Hawthorne and made its way up the giant hill on the west. It hit me like a nine-iron to the face from Tiger’s cuckolded missus, and buckled my umbrella into a useless heap of wayward metal fingers.
I forged on, attempting to hop the giant river sweeping down Bradhurst, and catching my trailing right foot in the foreboding drink.
I encountered a pair of folks in a pair of cars a few houses down; he’d backed out of the driveway to make room for his wife to pull out. I’d met the couple one day in the fair months when walking Little G home from “Firetruck Playground”. They’d just moved in with their young children. I welcomed them to the neighborhood and told them about the good playgrounds.
I peered through the frozen rain, hoping a little eye contact would merit a ride to the train. Alas, both ignored the crazy wet guy with the broken umbrella lurching by.
I thought about turning back, regrouping, changing my clothes, and working out a new gameplan. But the weather showed no sign of subsiding and I figured I’d just be wasting the five blocks I’d conquered thus far.
On I trekked. Every so often, a stiff wind would deliver a fresh round of soakage, icily pinning my overmatched cheenos to my legs, finding every centimeter of unguarded clothing between my coat buttons.
I had a brief break from the onslaught while heading north to Chelsea for a block, but got the same old F- you from Mother Nature as I again turned to the east. At this point of the trek there are sidewalks, but no one had thought to plow the damn things, which were covered in three inches of gray muck. The Mount Pleasant plow guys saw fit to plow our roads something like three times in the wee hours Saturday night, long after the snow had stopped and been completely cleared. I looked out our bedroom window at one point late Saturday, and saw the truck make two consecutive trips up and down our tiny dead end street, the plow on the road waking all within a quarter mile, and there hadn’t been a single flake on the street for a few hours. Kaching!
Where were the guys shoveling the sidewalks?
Not only were the sidewalks unwalkable, but there was a four-foot wide stream rolling down both sides of the street, so the only logical place you could walk was toward the middle of the road.
At this point, both thumbs were numb from taking turns holding the nearly useless umbrella up in the air. I thought at one point about actually hitchhiking the rest of the way to the train–what is this, 1989 in Narragansett?–but could not get my numb thumbs into the proper hitch position.
Soaked to the bone, I truly did not think my journey could get worse, until that god-awful “Bad Day” song started running through my head. I’d seen that hapless tunesmith Daniel Powter on the Yahoo homepage a few days before, awarded the dubious One Hit Wonder title for the decade. Now his mawkish tune was bouncing around in my brain.
I stepped into the station lot quagmire 15 minutes after I set out, clinging to one shred of hope: snagging a beloved folding 1 3/4 seater on the train, with a tiny heater inches away, and no seatmate to inevitably say something like, “wow, you got wet today.”
At 8:16, I caught the first break of the day, and hopefully not the last: An available 1 3/4 seater, with a steaming cup of cocoa, a pair of warm slippers, and a tiny fireplace. I may have imagined the cocoa, the slippers, and the fireplace, but the rest of it was real.