“I don’t think that I can take it anymore.” This is a line from a popular 1968 song, “MacArthur Park”. The song is a melodramatic wailing of complete desperation, a wolf-like howling in response to the opening line, “Spring was never waiting for us”.
The song was a pleasant memory from my youth - until now, this so-called 2014 -2015 winter’s end. Every morning when I raise the shades and look at the bleak landscape, I hear myself keening the words, “I don’t think I can take it anymore.” I feel like a banshee wailing at the confining walls of my house.
There has been no thaw to give us hope, no slushy gutters to jump over, no patches of grass to give us optimism. I can’t even remember when the snow started, but that doesn’t matter anymore. It feels like my whole existence will forever revolve around that white stuff and the sub-zero temperatures.
My social life is in tatters, with decisions to go out delayed until after the weather reports on TV. How many pileups, roads closings and snowplows working the streets? What about the lack of salt and hub-cap-deep chuck holes? What about icy sidewalks or knee-deep un-shoveled ones?
I broke two snowblowers, or I should say this winter did. I have sore muscles from using my old-fashioned snow shovel and the rock salt on my sidewalks is ruining my wooden floors.
Two-feet high ice mounds border my driveway, making it impossible to open a car door. My dog, Roxy, has made a new path to enter the ice crust over the entire yard. The shrubs and landmarks are buried, so she wanders gingerly looking for a spot.
At the intersection of my walk and driveway, I have rock-hard ice mountains towering to five feet. If I do decide to go out, I have to back out the drive at 20 miles per hour to get through the ice heap left by the city’s snowplow, then cut the wheel sharply to avoid a car parked haphazardly in the street. So I get out…but what if my eight-year old battery goes dead, what if I fall in a parking lot and can’t get up, what if no one hears me calling out and I die there?
How to dress is another matter. I am luckier than most because I have heavy Irish wool sweaters. I wear them layered over a T-shirt and a turtle neck sweater. Tights and jeans and two pairs of socks might keep me warm inside. Outside clothing is boots with salt lines, mismatched gloves and hoodies and hats over flattened hair.
I couldn’t get a massage or manicure and pedicure this month because the cost of energy is eating up my monthly budget. But I know it will be better some day. The sun will shine again. To finish with a song from the 1980s, “I will survive.”
Note: "MacArthur Park" was written and produced by Jimmy Webb. It was first sung by Richard Harris for the Dunhill Records label. "I Will Survive" was written by Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris (producer). It was first sung by Gloria Gaynor for the Polydor record label.
Peggy Calvey Patton
Peggy Calvey Patton is a freelance writer. She lives in West Park.