Ten Days in January

Jan. 6: The first major snowfall of the winter season is predicted for tomorrow, and I'm ready. I tell myself I live in the Midwest because I like the change of the seasons and snow can be beautiful. When the snow comes, I'll build a snowman. I always li

Jan. 6: The first major snowfall of the winter season is predicted for tomorrow and I’m ready. I tell myself I live in the Midwest because I like the change of the seasons and snow can be beautiful. As I make a vodka and tonic, I think to myself that when the snow comes I’ll build a snowman. I always liked doing that when I was a kid.

Jan. 7: The snow is here and, as it falls, I feel peaceful and serene. It looks pretty falling from the sky. Truly, it’s a winter wonderland. I have plenty of cigarettes and vodka to get me through the day. Really, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Jan. 8: Alright, it can stop now. We got about 4 inches of the white stuff yesterday and another inch today. Nerve damage — neuropathy — in my feet, because of diabetes, reminds me how difficult it is for me to walk on snow. I’ll have to forget about going drinking with Greg and Jeremy this afternoon, but maybe I can talk them into coming here. I’ll enjoy the pleasure of their company, but more importantly they can bring me a bottle and some cigarettes. I’m about out of both.

Jan. 9: Yesterday afternoon, Greg and Jeremy brought me vodka and cigarettes, or what I call my staples of life, so I’m cool. It’s still cold out, so that white shit is still on the ground but at least it’s stopped snowing. I’ve got writing projects that will keep me busy today.

Jan. 10: Felt a bit stir crazy this morning, decided to go for a walk, which was a bad decision because within about 10 seconds I almost fell on my ass. Damn my neuropathy and damn this snow. Not feeling motivated to work today — spent most of the day watching youTube clips and biographies on serial killers like John Wayne Gacy, Richard Ramirez, Ted bundy and Jeffery Dahmer. Took inventory of alcohol and cigarettes I have left. I’m in decent shape.

Jan. 11: Didn’t sleep well last night, had nightmares about serial killers and being stabbed or shot to death. The fucking snow is still on the fucking ground and it’s still cold. Spent most of the day watching old Match Game clips on youTube. My vodka bottle is still half full, but I’m running a bit low on cigarettes. I’m trying to pace myself and not think about smoking, which never works because trying to pace myself when it comes to smoking really just makes me think about it more.

Jan. 12: Down to four cigarettes in my pack and still feeling paranoid when it comes to walking on the snow, which is still very much on the ground, I call my son who doesn’t work on Tuesdays and ask him to bring me three packs of cigarettes, and he does. After I pay him, we sit and talk with me doing most of the talking because I haven’t really talked to anybody in two days. As I babble on, my son has this look on his face — sort of like, “What the hell is wrong with Dad?”

Jan. 13: In the laundry room in my building, the stationary tub has been draining out very slowly. A plumber has been summoned to fix the problem and I volunteer to let him in. Lucas — I think that’s his name — is a young guy and while he puts a “snake” down the drain to try to open it up, we talk about why he became a plumber, his girlfriend and what kind of beer he likes. I think about turning the conversation into a column but decide not to. It’s a mostly sunny day and the snow’s starting to melt, but I decide to stay in. On youTube, I watch a biography on Grace Kelly. I remember her being in Rear Window but don’t think I’ve seen any of her other movies. I’m fine on smokes but getting worried about the vodka.

Jan. 14: The temperature is in the 40s and most of the snow is gone. I get an e-mail from my friend and bartender Laura wanting to know if I’ll be coming into bart’s over in Newport for happy hour. I’ve been home for so many days now, I don’t feel like going out. I don’t tell her that, just don’t reply. For whatever reason, I start thinking about that old Wilson Phillips song “Release Me.” I go to youTube and watch a live clip of the song. I watch it 10 times before tiring of it. Vodka and cigarette supplies are low.

Jan. 15: It’s a dire situation. I’m down to no vodka and no cigarettes. Now I have to go out. I notice there’s still a little snow on some of the sidewalks as I make my way to the bus stop. The bus driver is a cranky old ass who’s driving too slowly. He’s doing this because the bus is almost empty and he needs to stay on schedule. I just need my goddamn cigarettes and vodka. When I get downtown, I go to CVS, buy three packs of smokes, a bottle of diluted vodka (that’s all they had) and tonic water. After smoking three cigarettes, the bus finally arrives to take me back home. On the way there, while clutching my CVS bag containing my staples of life, I tell myself I’ve always hated the change of seasons, especially the winter. I make plans to move to Arizona.


CONTACT LARRY GROSS: [email protected]


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