Some weeks back, I discovered a note on the windshield. “Yo dipshit,” it began. “Next time leave me some room to get into my car!” As if I had purposefully parked to annoy. I was only for a moment incensed at having been misunderstood and wrongly accused. Then, I found I wanted to plead my case: “but…but…but.” Then, I thought about mortality and eternity. And how we humans, the very smallest of dipshits all, get so much so wrong so often. I, myself, have been known to leave angry, judgmental epistles on others’ windshields—always certain that, whatever the trespass, it had come about through intentional inconsideration. I am very hard on others—but no harder than I am on myself.
From time to time, I tell the story of my first remembered experience with winter weather, and yesterday I was reminded of it as I stared out the back window of a taxi onto an urban landscape of pepper-colored snow. I wanted to know if the driver had children — odd of me to ask — and, if so, whether or not they liked to play in the stuff. Two, he replied, and sure they do, he said.
“It’s hard to find a child who does not like snow,” I told him, “though my first experience with it was not so wonderful.” And then I went on to tell my embroidered story: How we had just moved from California, where I had lived for most of my first years. And how I awoke one morning to find my front yard covered in a white blanket. And how I threw open the front door and ran outside barefooted and in pajamas. And how I howled at the unexpected pain arising from thrusting my hands below the deceptively sparkly surface. And how next I knew both my parents were comforting me and warming my extremities in hot water. And how they had wiped away the tears and had said, “There, there.”