Surviving Boston Winters is no easy feat.
From fear of being impaled by icicles to being stranded without the MBTA, the struggle has been really real.
It’s been 64 days in this frozen tundra they call Boston. I begin each day like the last, buried in a mountain of blankets like my city is buried under blankets of snow, fearing the moment when any uncovered skin meets the shocking draft from New England’s famous uninsulated windows and walls. I dress in a hurry, the muscles in my neck and back tensing as I shiver without the shelter of my bed. To prepare for my journey to the bus stop, I don a pair of leggings before I put on my jeans, and on top I wear a t-shirt, a long-sleeved shirt, two sweatshirts, a heavy winter coat. Not to mention a hat, gloves, scarf, two pairs of socks and my finest Timberlands. Fur-lined hood stays erect. Layers upon layers, only to be removed within seconds of arriving at your destination, cast off to the side one at a time in a hurried, anxious, claustrophobic haze caused by strong indoor heating.
I am not the only New Englander huddled against the cold on their daily commute, faces scrunched against the arctic gusts of wind biting the skin on our faces.
Every journey outside is treacherous. The monstrous snow banks are only growing in stature, stationary yetis to block your path and hinder your vision and tower over you like prison guards.
Danger lurks with each step- some black ice here to land you on the flat of your back, potholes filled with slush there, waiting for you to wander into their filthy, icy abyss and soak you to your socks. Each day, I worry that one of the icicles hanging from the rooftops will truly be the death of me.
A snow plowman might unknowingly swipe you while you break your back shoveling out your car as he tries in vain to control the ever-falling snow, a total of 72.6 inches in Boston, which they’re talking about dumping in the ocean just to get it off our streets. Then he’ll bury your car anew. And you’ll dig out a spot again and put chairs or boxes or whatever you can find in your spot while you’re at work so everyone knows that, by law, it’s your spot. And then someone will take your spot. And you’ll never leave your house again.
The time spent waiting during the daily commute is one of the worst parts. Waiting for your car to warm up, waiting for traffic to loosen. Waiting for the MBTA which has broken down a million times that day and will break down a million more. And all the while you are cold to your core, something inside you has frozen so that you can survive the winter, and only Dunkin Donuts can thaw out your freezer burned soul a little. Sometimes we find humor in our situations, laughing at the mess our city has made of our public transportation, grasping each other for support on the T as any one of the trains jerks forward, the rusted gears and brakes obvious with every metal stutter. But for the most part, we turn against each other, hoping only that we will make it onto this train or bus or into that lane. Me, me, me. I have to get to work on time. Fuck everyone else. Here, have a shoulder in your ribs. Don’t mind my foot tripping you. Stand behind the yellow line? Yeah, OK. I’ll DIE if I don’t get on this train.
We are starting to go insane. You can do some serious flirting before realizing the person you’re courting is actually homeless. Please are even jumping out of apartment windows and into snow banks for sport. We’ve found a way to think of flannels as not only acceptable evening-wear, but even as something sexy to just throw on.
I long to feel the sun on my shoulders, the breeze from the Caribbean on my flesh. I don’t even remember what my skin looked like when it was healthy and warm, how my feet feel without socks on constantly.
Springtime, Boston is calling!
by Rebecca Bellan