Winter doesn't respect the calendar in central Maine. The thermometer outside my kitchen door reads 21F. I don't want to talk about wind chills, but I'm watching the bunting on my neighbor's garage ruffle and float, and wondering how well it's attached to the clapboard.
My dear friend Jennifer L., the traitor who abandoned us for North Carolina earlier this year, came back yesterday on business and to help me celebrate my birthday a couple of days early. Jennifer, our friend Anna and I met for drinks at Joyce's, downtown Hallowell's coolest nightspot (and I do not mean that sarcastically in any way -- Joyce's really is cool).
The outside temperature was somewhere in the 20s. At one end of the spectrum Anna, hardy Maine stock, showed up without a coat: "This jacket is cashmere," she said, as if that would be enough for anyone. Jen, only three months gone from Maine, wore a coat and would have been plenty warm if whining was a heat-generating activity. I, in the middle, wore a coat and gloves but could not stop yawning, not because I was tired but because some more fundamental biologic process seemed to be taking over.
As I took Dizzy for his last walk of the night, bouncing on my toes to stay warm, I realized what it was: I want to hibernate.
Why don't humans get to hibernate, dammit?
I've read books about this. Very few mammals truly hibernate; even squirrels will wake up at intervals during the winter, to forage for food and make sure their nests are safe. Hibernation takes a lot of energy, and fat stores that humans aren't supposed to have.
But here's the thing: I've done my part. I've got those fat stores. I would be just fine if I could sleep between, say, Thanksgiving and Easter.
Well, you could wake me up for Christmas. And Inauguration Day. And I am supposed to direct a play that runs the last two weeks of February, so I guess I need to be around for that. And unless Dizzy hibernates too, someone needs to feed him and take him out...
All right, hibernation's not practical. It's a business opportunity for someone, though. Imagine if someone could offer long-term storage for humans through the winter: IV fluids, periodic turns to prevent bedsores, life management for the months people were sleeping. You could charge any amount of money for that. You'd have a waiting list for decades. I'd be on it.
Five Random Songs
"Quite Ugly One Morning," Warren Zevon. Ooh, not a good song to start the day. Next.
"Shiny Happy People," REM. Much better. An infallible mood lifter, and have you seen the Muppets' version? Go watch it right now, and thanks to Jennifer Jordan, who made me aware of it.
"Life 2: Unhappy Ending," Stars. Ooh, emotional whiplash on the iPod Shuffle. Claire gave me this CD, which was one of my favorites of 2007. Stars is a Canadian band that deserves a lot more attention in the U.S.
"Indian War Whoop," John Hartford. From the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack.
"Eraser," Nine Inch Nails. It's hard for me to believe that this album (The Downward Spiral) is 14 years old already. I think I need to lie down.