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Tuesday, June 10, 2003
'Tis Not the Season
It's almost officially summer. Of course, here in the Sunshine State, it's really been summer for quite some time. So, how about some season-appropriate storytelling?

Oooo, I have one. I'll tell you about the coldest day I can remember . . . y'know, to shake those summertime blues.

We were living in Albany, New York, at the time. It was early January which, incidentally, is the worst time of the year up there. On that particular day, we woke up to temperatures around 11 below zero. And it was windy. After a night of cold, dry snow, the wind was blowing the snow around like a sandstorm.

I felt like crap, with a sore throat, but I was going to work anyway. I went out to start the car and scrape the ice and snow off of it.

The car wouldn't start.

The events that followed are somewhat hazy, but I seem to remember yelling, cursing, and madly swinging the jumper cables around the parking lot. I ended up hyperventilating, which was great for my sore throat but bad for my head. When I fully realized what was happening, I was laying on the floor of our apartment with my cat meowing (she was worried) next to my head.

After I calmed down a bit and pumped blood back to my brain, I went back outside. I calmly started my wife's Trooper and pulled it alongside my car. When I'd successfully started the car, I went inside to tell my wife that I was leaving (she was still in bed).

The roads were swirling with wind-blown snow, but they weren't icy, so I made it to work okay. Once I'd settled in, the phone rang. It was my wife. The Trooper had broken down on the side of the Northway (I-87 north of Albany). She was at home because the CVS Good Samaritan van driver had refused to let her stay with the broken down Trooper (for fear that she'd freeze to death). I called AAA; the guy told me that dozens of cars were having problems (understandably) and that it'd be hours before I could get towed. My best bet was to call a garage directly and get them to tow the car. I picked a place near where we lived and he said he'd meet me there in 45 minutes. I remember there being an issue with time because the cops would have abandoned cars on the side of the Interstate impounded.

At the side of the Interstate, I watched as the tow-truck guy was loading the Trooper onto the truck. A cop pulled off to the side to yell at me for standing too close to traffic.

When I got back to work, I called the garage. They said that the Trooper was completely out of oil and that the radiator cap had blown off when the engine overheated. The price to fix it was pretty reasonable . . . the only relatively good news of the day. We were actually lucky that the engine block didn't crack.

I think the high temperature that day topped out at a balmy 2 below zero. And even after that whole ordeal, I still want to live up there again . . . someday.

People here are, like, "Why?"

And people in Canada are, like, "Pussy."