Finding Solace in a City of Slush

After the thick coat of frosting New York received yesterday morning, the city streets resembled something close to a cupcake melting in the sun. As is predictable, the LIRR canceled numerous trains, leaving pacing passengers to wait for the next train in the cold, fretting the relationship between pools of slushy, freshly melted snow and the state of their shoes. To add insult to injury, passenger after passenger piled onto the platform of Babylon station to find that the already large crowd of their average commute had been tripled by all of the riders from the canceled trains. The idea of an express train was out of the question, and what would have taken an hour and change to arrive from Babylon to Penn Staion took a whopping two hours.

Luckily, as any connoisseur of public transit knows, I had a novel tucked in my travel sack. I scrunched down into my seat, squeezed neatly between two bag-ridden men in suits, and delved into the warm solace of Tobias Wolff’s This Boy’s Life. Wolff’s gentle prose did exactly what a good novel should do, alleviate the pangs of stress and extricate the tethers of reality. Erica Jong once said something along the lines of: a book burrows into your life in a way that nothing else does because the act of reading isn’t passive. I want to avoid images of escaping the world, because reading is less an escape and more an enhancement of the imagination.  A novel can illuminate in its reader the sweetness of life that is always there, yet frequently covered by the foggy stressors of a city life. Shakespeare and Co. Booksellers has become a home away from home, supplying me with all of my cravings.  Luckily, they have a student discount, which saves me an unimaginable amount of money. Otherwise, I might be selling my assets to obtain what I consider an expensive, junkie like lust for the written word.

Another way that I’ve tempered the cold, gray days boring into my unconscious is to box. Boxing is the best workout that does not involve the same repititive motion; it requires focus and strategy that make me forget I’m even exercising. In the realm of exercise I typically considered lugging my Norton anthologies strenuous and worthy of a doughnut. Now I’ve realized that my lack of physical exercise was not due to laziness (maybe a little),  but instead the frustration of doing the same task over and over again with what seemed to be little result. I’ve also found a pilates class at Synergy. I clear my mind a little, brush off the weariness of a long day, and I look a little nicer in my skinny jeans.

Despite the chilling temperatures, and the ash gray slush piling up on the sidewalks, I still love New York in the winter. I love to see people bundled up in their snow gear, sporting fashions that are sweet and modest. The snow, ironically, seems to make people a little warmer, as people bunker down together to avoid the chills and reinstate a little but of solidarity in the human race. Still, if you’re feeling a little Picasso blue this winter, get a good workout and snuggle up with a book.

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