“I haven’t been surprised by snow since I was a child,” I said.
“Yeah,” the UPS guy said. “I don’t remember the last time the forecast was this wrong.”
“Oh yeah, it’s crazy,” I said. I was sure there existed a world of weirder events but I wasn’t about to remove my gloves and start Googling. No reason to be that guy while we froze our asses off and shot the shit.
“I’m wearing the wrong shoes for this,” he said. So was I. My leather boots had soaked through to my socks.
In my long-haired youth, I’d attended an outdoor concert on Beale Street and stood there with nothing but black leather Doc Martins and threadbare cotton socks between my poor feet and the 45° F chill. My body shook for hours after I escaped the elements.
I relayed this to the UPS guy. “I don’t know what I’m going to do,” he said.
He lamented having let his girls play in the snow before work. “Just run on out there,” he’d told them. It was still below 20° F, and he was concerned they’d been as cold as he was.
“Yeah, I didn’t let mine,” I said. “I didn’t want to get my work clothes wet.”
This morning, while I prepared coffee (between shushing the girls and fetching their requests), I wondered how many more times it would snow while they were small.
I kissed them goodbye while they stared at their tablets, which they still refer to as Talbots. The journey to the mall wasn’t as terrible as I’d anticipated, even on two-wheel-drive. That said, the combination of conditions and cockiness had landed enough people in the ditch to result in road closings on Jonesboro’s more hilly terrain.
The maintenance man and I entered the building and complained about the inaccurate forecast. “They can’t predict the weather,” he said.
“You’re right,” I said. “It’s too chaotic. You can’t predict that.”
The back buzzer sounded and I opened the receiving door into the alley. The UPS guy had apparently gotten a phone call in the meantime. He scanned boxes with one hand while he told someone he’d be by when he finished the mall.
He stuck his phone in his pocket and looked at me. “Your last name is Talbot, right?”
“Are you related to someone over at the dress store?”
“Yeah,” I said. “That’s my ex-wife.”
“Ah, okay,” he said. “She was checking to see if I could come by there first because they’re closing early. I didn’t want to say something if-”
“Dude,” I said, “you can say whatever you want. She kept the name for some reason. I guess I’m going to populate the earth with Talbots.”
He laughed. I have no such plans, but I’ll lie in the name of comradery.
“It’s a small world,” he said.
Gina, the last Talbot I’ll make (by legal contract anyway), texted to inform me the girls were going berserk with snowlust. At least that’s how I interpreted the situation. Since I left for work, they’d been alternating between mauling each other and launching towards Willie’s delicate skull.
Their mother arrived, only slightly delayed by the inclement weather, and carried them away before they did any permanent damage. I assume she dropped them off somewhere before she gave UPS a courtesy call. Cora’s preschool was closed, and I’ve had to go get the girls from day care before on account of heavy rain.
They’re probably reenacting Revenant in some friend’s yard. I’m not always privy to such things, but I trust they’re safe.
The roads are clear enough for business. Mother Nature has done what our plow-deficient city planners could not. The occasional sirens remind me it’s not over yet, and the encroaching evening threatens to solidify the slop.
Still, there’s enough pristine powder on the grass to thrill a youngster. It’s probably not the right consistency for construction, but I wouldn’t blame anyone for trying.