Good grief, it is just horrible outside right now.

In New York, you get days like today in January, there’s just no way around it. Wait, let me try to take a picture…

Yeah, you can’t really tell.

I’ve said before that I have been told that only poets and madmen take the weather personally, but let me see if I can put my finger on what it is about this weather that is so frickin’ horrible. It is cold, but it isn’t kill-you cold, it isn’t the kind of cold that creates any real *drama*. It’s not like I can say, “Oh, shit today is *terrible*” without some asshole (probably you) writing me and saying “There are mudslides and tsunamis, you jerk, you can’t handle a little frozen rain?”

Yes, for the record, I can handle it, and I know that my west coast friends are having it tough, but this weather is worse to me because it is *boring*. *It* is boring, and it makes the rest of my life boring. It doesn’t inspre a cuddle by the fire because, of course, in weather like this it is worse looking than it actually feels, so every building is heated to a cozy 87 degrees, including our apartment. It’s thirty eight degrees outside, and I have mushrooms growing under my window sills.

But, you have to go outside on a day like this because if you don’t you can actually hear the sound of your muscles turning into fat whistling in the silent moist hot freezing rooms of your apartment. Going outside isn’t simply that, however. You have to put on your seven layers of clothes, despite the fact that even two layers makes you uncomfortable in the swampy heat of the apartment. Each shirt and sweater is designed to either go over your body or one layer, and you have to convince it that it’s got to stretch over two, three, sometimes four layers, so that inhalation changes from an involuntary to a labored muscle movement and the inside two layers are immediately soaked in sweat from the heat.

But when you go outside, you are confronted by what the weatherfolk call “freezing rain” but which we in New York know to be “thawing rain”. Sure, it was frozen, right up to about ten seconds before it hits you, but during that time it has warmed to about 36 degrees, ready to become completely liquid and roll down the curve of the back of your ear, slide behind your scarf and travel the length of your neck before hitting the collar of your jacket. Once the thawing rain hits your jacket, it’s released as steam back up toward your glasses.

Even worse is that all of the thawed rain gets trapped in your jacket. Each step and your clothes weigh more, there’s more mud on the cuff of your pants, there’s less possibility for movement. It’s like your jacket is a whale and the moisture in the air is plankton and you’re just coffee-flitering your way down the street, getting mustier and heavier and sweatier as your pant legs refreeze for some reason and rub against the chicken skin on your thighs. You can actually smell your own exertion from inside your well-named sweater, but your legs are chafing against your dungarees.

If it was eleven degrees, then at least you’d be fighting for your life, if it was 46 and sunny, you’d wear a jacket and it would feel “brisk”. But 37 and freezing rain… With Mac’s permission, I’m gonna quote my favorite play. This is one character describing February 1998 in New York.

The city seemed… unearthly, all “Blade Runner” and shiny in the downpour. Like mercury, these thin, viscous, silver stabs of ice all down my back and down my chest. I felt like they must be freezing onto me, imprinting on me permanently, like if I looked under my shirt later I would see this living silver map all over me, forgotten countries and lost seas, “Here there be dragons.”