Well, I’m twenty-eight posts into this sucker and I have to admit… I’m wavering; coming up with one hundred reasons to embrace life over death is proving more difficult than I ever would have imagined.
This is a job for someone who frolics with unicorns in their dreams and spins metaphorical rainbows everywhere they go, not a forty-something, broken-down bellman turned hack writer/blogger.
But here we are. So here we go.
#72: Facing A Snowstorm Alone.
Yes, this one is decidedly Canadian, but no, I haven’t buckled under the pressure. Ride this storm out with me, won’t you? Though being with me goes against the grain of this entry… Aw the hell with it. Here we go…
I reside a mere ten minutes away from the hotel where I (mostly) live and work (sometimes) at and so walking makes more sense than firing up the ole mini-van and trying to find a parking space four days a week. (I work eleven-hour days and get three days off a week. But you didn’t really need to know that, did you? #UselessInfo)
For five months of the year I am forced to impersonate an Arctic explorer who must brave the howling winds, icy temperatures and drifts of white precipitation in order to reach an outpost where thousands of travelers congregate to eat, drink, smoke weed (It’s legal! Thanks, Justin!) and do hookers named Mary.
I am a shift worker (who can sometimes be shifty) and so there are winter mornings where I must head out the door at 5:30 am, when the night still holds sway over Niagara Falls and the daylight’s approach can barely be perceived.
In other words, it’s quiet, devoid of life, and creepy.
But the emptiness holds a specific form of beauty.
I get to make fresh footprints on my lawn, my driveway and the frozen flower beds of any neighbors that piss me off. (The trick is to really crunch your boots down and snap the buds just below the surface.) I can close my eyes (briefly, you never know who else is out there) and really hear the winter wind in all its glory. The icy temps push me to move faster than I would normally and leave me feeling invigorated. Until I go numb.
I am alone with my thoughts as the storm, the ultimate sign of a planet’s life-force, rages.
As a bellman I have been privileged to have met an incalculable number of people from all corners of the globe. One such individual was a veteran of the Second World War who found similar contentment in the wintry quiet.
“I just got back from overseas. I was still in my uniform and I took the bus across the border to Niagara Falls in the dead of winter. I made my way to the base of the Falls and I just stood there with my body getting colder by the minute as the mist coated me. There was absolutely no one else around, which I needed after being surrounded by so many people and so much… (his voice just trailed off as he struggled in vain to find the right words) It was something I’ll never forget.”
I certainly never did.
See you in the lobby, friends…