Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hail to the Hail

LA has been acting a lot like Seattle this past week with rain nonstop and hailstorms that have covered my deck in slushy ice. it was the closest i had come to snow in many years so i got excited and took a picture of it. then i called my parents and friends to ask them what they thought about all that crazy hail. “it’s crazy, right? it’s almost like snow, but wetter like rain!”

this was met with many what-the-hell-are-you-talking abouts, which leads me to believe that the hail only landed on my house because i couldn’t find a single other person to agree that a hailstorm happened. but it happened, and it lasted for a good half hour and sounded like popcorn in the microwave. the ice took its sweet time melting, and i stared at it for a long while, pretending it was snow and marveling at the idea of Los Angeles having a winter that actually felt wintery.

as cold as it was the night of the hail — in the 40s, brrrrr! — snow seemed like a real possibility, and i imagined making snow angels in the mornings like i’ve seen people do in the movies. then i’d put on my wool socks and have a cup of cocoa, even though i don’t like cocoa so it would taste more like coffee, while the fireplace snapped and crackled. then Mo and i would play board games and make s’mores.

i’m sure my friends who live in places where snow is real and not imaginary will be quick to advise me (as they have before) to put away my tomahawk and headdress and quit embarrassing myself with the Appalachian snow dance i seem to do every winter, because snow is actually more pain than pleasure, especially when it lasts for months and requires constant shoveling of the driveway. and i’ll admit that i only want snow if it matches my romanticized notion of it being all about puppies, rainbows and sugar sprinkles on cookies. the icy roads and frozen limbs do not enter the fantasy.

yet each winter, like clockwork, i find myself buying way more jackets than i need and getting excited whenever rain is predicted in the five-day forecast. i find myself imagining that my coffee with half-and-half is really cocoa with marshmallows and that the central heat at home is really a fireplace in the ceiling. at work, i find myself gazing at the snow-capped mountains i can see from my window, wondering at how cold it is over there and thinking i should drive there immediately to find out and test the warmth of my new jacket.

i’m sure my fixation on snow is a lame case of the grass being greener — snow being whiter? — as i would never entertain the idea of moving away from sunny LA, precisely because the weather here is so damn good. and i’m sure it does not go beyond wanting to play in the snow for maybe a week or two every year, provided i don’t have to dig my car out of it each morning to get to work. still, it would be nice to melt a snowflake on my tongue or build a snowman with a carrot for its nose. it would be nice to experience a season the rest of the planet understands.

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