I had a late night last night, and when the loud alarm on my phone roused me from my slumber, I could tell the winter air felt different and I was especially reluctant to go through my “to do” list for the day:
1) wake up
4) go to work
5) write tomorrow’s article
6) figure some out things
7) work on my next story
Maybe if I didn’t run through a list of things I need to accomplish I’d be more likely to wake up with a spring in my step. Instead, save for the rare mornings here and there, I often wake up with the enthusiasm of a man walking to the guillotine.
I spare a few brain cells each day wondering how many more minutes of sleep I can afford, I often try to plan what to wear because that saves time (right?) and I always think about what I’ll eat and when I’ll get to crawl into bed again.
Today, there was something in the air…like meeting a stranger and yet somehow knowing them. My mom told me to wear my warm boots (but I opted not to because I’m slightly obsessed with my green ones), and just to keep her happy – I threw some gloves and a hat in my bag (which I’m super happy I did.)
The bus ride to work was rather uneventful, but as I felt the chill move down from the tip of my nose to my toes, I caught a glimpse of a man through the window. With rumpled layers of tattered clothes, he was lying on the cold sidewalk and with a silly grin on his face that suggested dementia or possibly some intellectual disability, I watched as he tried to pull a sheet of plastic over him. The plastic was as clear as his poverty, and probably taken from the construction site a few buildings over. I thought of my thick layers of blankets on my bed and as the bus sped off, I wondered if the man even had any clue of how cold he was.
I got off at my stop and as I made the under five minute walk to my office building, I noticed there was a haze as if the sun had been filtered and the light turned to dim. If haunted souls do make the air colder and slightly eerie, they were out and about the city today.
Sitting at my desk, my fingers felt stiff and stepping out for lunch, it finally hit me. Today in Kathmandu, I am experience a day of Boston’s winter. The frigid air and the chill of moisture waiting to descend was all too familiar. Offhand comments of “it might snow today” was thrown about and in many parts of the city, a fine layer of white did cover the ground and for a few minutes, the dirt and grime of the city was hidden.
The sleet didn’t last, and as the pure white disappeared, it gave way to brown slush and sludge that is currently decorating my boots (I sorta wish I’d worn my winter boots now!). Early evening as darkness had already consumed the streets, a friend and I walked over to Basantapur because the rumbling in my belly was more insistent than usual for a meal that fell somewhere between my late lunch and even later dinner. On the way, I realized I don’t often walk about at that time of night. With my hat cover my ears, and my body ever so slowly warming up with every few steps, I think I actually enjoyed the cold,
Hands in pockets, I missed the crunch of snow under my feet, with the breeze toying with wisps of my hair I missed the biting wind. Semi-lost in my thoughts, I told my friend about the strange dreams I’d been having and mentioned how lately my mind had taken to wandering to memories of past loves and friends that are too far away. The winter, though it’s bitter cold, it’s bittersweet because it’s just another portal to memories for me.
But for the man who sought warmth in plastic, I doubt there’s any comfort in the cold. For the numerous people I have seen lying asleep (whether from exhaustion or booze induced stupors) on the open roads, today is probably the most miserable of days. I’m looking forward to getting home and being greeted by my mother, I’m looking forward to her sitting with me at the dining room table as I eat, I’m looking forward to the conversation we’ll have about our days, I’m looking forward to getting into bed and talking to friends on my computer… but it makes me sad that many on the streets are probably just looking forward to daybreak so the weak sun will relieve them of the winter nights.
Come morning, I’ll rub my eye wondering how much longer I can sleep, I’ll go through the things I need to do, and even after writing nearly a thousand words on here, nothing will have really changed.