On Groundhog’s Day, Punxsutawney Phil got spooked real good by his shadow and crawled back into his ground hole, indicating that we’re due for six more weeks of winter.
Besides having the coolest name ever — not the Phil part; that’s pretty normal — the Punxsutawninator needs to get his shit together. Six more weeks of winter? Dude’s been buried so deep for so long, he doesn’t even know winter hasn’t yet graced us with its presence.
Prognosticating Punxsutawney Phil’s position on an improbably prolonged not-yet-present winter got me thinking about how our blustery Binghamton became a balmy, beach-like bastion of brightness. Here are a few changes I’ve seen in my life thanks to global warming and its byproducts.
For starters, when there was snow on the ground, I was always tracking some sort of dirt-snow amalgam into a classroom via the bottom of my boots. I was always the only muck-tracker. I never understood it. Time after time, I would stomp on that mat so hard I’d need to ice my heels before I went to sleep, yet I was continuously the only person with slimy brownness under their desk.
How was it always just me? Was I on the outside of some network of secrets of removing moisture and mud from the bottom of footwear? Was it the same Secret Board of Shadowy Figures, the one that regulates the posters on campus, who had the secret to dry-shoed success? The same people who conspired to bombard my inbox with OC3 emails?
It’s dirty water under the bridge now, because thanks to the absence of snow, I track mud no more! That ground is dry and my shoes have followed suit. You’re welcome, Science Library custodial staff.
And another thing — remember that initiative the dining halls had to remove all the trays, as washing them all was supposedly a grand waste of water? Well, their wells must be running dry, considering nobody’s sledding down grass. Unless, of course, I meant for “sledding down grass” to be an overreaching metaphor about throwing your life away through a marijuana habit, but I’m almost certain that’s not the case. Almost.
If my coats could talk, my winter jacket would say, “Use me like that easy girl you used to fool around with in high school, you piece of shit.” I don’t know why I envision my jacket to be so vulgar, but she makes a point. She’s been sitting on the sidelines for a while now, and I want more than anything to put her in the game, but I can’t utilize her strengths in this dry, warm playing field.
On Tuesday, the Giants had their ticker tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes. With the players decked only in light jackets and sweatshirts, I found myself buying, basting, then cooking a 20-pound turkey before I realized I wasn’t watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade — and that I have no idea how to cook a turkey. You’re welcome, turkeys. Thanks for coming in.
But the coup de grace of this unseasonably, unreasonably warm winter has been the absence of the ever-present campus ice-capades. When the Brain was covered in sheets of ice, my deepest schadenfreude nerve was pinched every time I saw an unfortunate soul lose their footing on our ice caps.
Binghamton was a place where any old sucker could become Tara Lipinski, Sarah Hughes, Michelle Kwan, Kristi Yamaguchi, Peggy Fleming, Sasha Cohen, Oksana Baiul or Scott Hamilton. You didn’t even need skates — just a slippery slope. Maybe it’s wrong to take pleasure in someone else’s pain, but it’s also wrong to have watched as much figure skating as I have; I’m already damned.
Winter, I need you. At the very least, so I can stop writing columns like this one.