For the first time I can remember we had no snow in December (and none through the first 15 days of January). We of course did have the freak October snowstorm that left many of our communities without power for over a week due to the heavy snow landing on the trees still fully leafed, breaking branches and knocking down power lines.
Nearly every day has been beautiful – the kind of days that make you wonder what you are doing sitting on a street corner in an ambulance instead of being one of the people riding by on a bike or jogging. I think to myself, damn, I should be taking advantage of this weather. You think about doing something when you get off, but of course when you get off, it will be dark out, the same darkness that was there in the morning when you put on your uniform.
Friday, it was really busy. We were getting hammered. No sitting on the street corner watching the pretty young joggers go by. It was one call after another. Can You Clear for a 911? I don’t think we posted at all other than for a brief period in the morning when we first came on.
So there I was in the evening darkness again, standing out at an MVA scene, back boarding a patient and I’m thinking, why am I freezing? I am cold, and the wind is bitter, and I notice I am just wearing my grey FTO shirt, no jacket or anything, no gloves on or hat on my number #2 razor cut head. Then I think, it’s because I have been so damn busy today, I haven’t even had time to put on my jacket. Sitting in the warm ambulance in the morning eating my oatmeal, I had taken the jacket off and stuffed behind my seat, and then we never left the hospital without going to another call, and I never had time to stop and say, maybe I ought to put this jacket on account of it is 20 degrees out.
This morning, I spilled out of the house with my unzipped jacket on, but no gloves or hat – they were somewhere in my car. It was so cold, the car had a hard time turning over and when it finally did, the thermometer said 10 degrees. I was running late which is rare for me, and I had to run back inside the house to find some gloves because I could not find the pair I thought was in my cluttered car. I got another pair, came back out and raced off to work – the car stalling one time, but thankfully starting back up. I made it in with two minutes to spare (I like to arrive 15 minutes early).
I wondered to myself. How could I have not known it was going to be so cold? How did I not know steam would be coming out of my nostrils like I was a lineman for the Green Bay Packers? Couldn’t I have laid my clothes out better last night? If I had known it was going to be this cold, I would be wearing long johns and one of my Under Armor run outside in the cold shirts that keep the heat in. I would have had my gloves and hat inside all warm and accessible. I would have moved the boxes and clutter in the garage that I have been meaning to move all fall so I could put the car in it overnight and not have to pray as it weakly turned over.
It’s almost ten in the morning now and the sun is up and out and our heater is cranking away. Still I have my jacket on and hat on. Not looking forward to the day I come out of the house and have to use the shovel. I can see why old people move to Florida. But it would be hard to quit my jobs and start over down there. I have a vision now. I imagine picking up all of Hartford and flying it down to Florida held up by gigantic blimps. You could set it right down next to the water maybe Key West Way. It wouldn’t matter so much then that when you got home after work, it would still be dark. You could sit out in shorts and a tee-shirt, out on the dock, sipping a cold ale, and feeling the gentle ocean breeze on your skin. When Spring rolled around, you could pick Hartford back up and fly it North escorted by flocks of robins.