Really, really, really cold.
By now everyone has heard about the bitter temperatures in the Northeast — especially in New England. We are enduring endless snow days, cars that won’t start, empty oil tanks, water damns, frozen pipes, crushed mailboxes, ice-encased windows, dangerously sharp falling icicles, frozen-over bays/rivers/shorelines. Our houses and apartments are literal iceboxes – refrigerated dwellings locking in the cold day after day. With no relief any time soon.
From New York to Providence to Boston to Bangor, we are collectively dealing with our own Fifty Shades of Grey – a depressing winter palette of black, gray, and off-white salty, sandy snow and ice as far as the eye can see.
More than the sleet, snow, and ice, it’s the invisible, relentless part of this winter that is really making me shudder. It feels serious and disorienting (not to mention, stop me in my tracks bone-chilling) to hear so many of my normally cheery and positive friends and colleagues confiding secret feelings of depression, anxiety, sadness and being overwhelmed by even the smallest tasks.
Underneath the wool layers and behind the Mount Everest size snow piles, something serious, dare I say even sinister, has taken hold here in the Northeast. Simply put, it’s getting all The Shining up in here lately. It’s not surprising that the references to Stephen King’s classic 1977 novel about isolation and violence at the Overlook Hotel in the dead of winter are daily occurrences. Of course, we aren’t all “REDRUM” and ghosts! Instead folks are bonding over feeling cut off from civilization, botched routines, loneliness, social starvation and the experience of severe stir-crazy cabin fever.
Now, truly, is the winter of our discontent.
Lately, going to the market to buy milk or filling my gas tank feels akin to completing a marathon. On other days, the Peapod delivery person is my only source of adult human contact. Meetings and trips are canceled weekly. Plans fall through. Venturing out in my extra long puffy coat and fur-lined snow boots the other day, I proudly flaunted my new found skill set of safely driving and navigating ice layered, unplowed, hilly roads. Like so many others, I don’t recognize myself or like living in this Winter Wasteland. And I’m in good company! Many of us have hit the pause button on our regular lives – we’ve traded coffee and donuts for our morning runs, bad TV for book club meetings, and fleece for high fashion. Perhaps most shocking of all: staying home all the time is our new normal.
And yet we are a rugged bunch — resilient to a fault and resigned to do just do our job — and though we are managing to have fun with the kids, and enjoying the work from home days while finding new soup recipes, snow-diving, polar bear plunging and making blizzard margaritas and snow slushies many of us feel stuck in this maze of winter, hoping to arrive intact at the crack of that first spring baseball bat at Fenway Park instead of the crack like Jack.
And yet The Long Night will end – as of today spring is 30 days away.
Laura Rossi Totten is a public relations and digital media expert, a published author and a blogger. Laura has worked at top New York City publishing houses including Random House, Viking Penguin, and W.W. Norton. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and SheKnows and has been featured on mediabistro, local NPR, PsychologyToday.com, The Chronicle of Higher Education, About.com, Scary Mommy, Public Books, The Muse, Babble, More magazine and many other print and online media outlets. Laura lectures regularly about publishing and Directed/Produced the stage show LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER in 2013.