Monday, December 03, 2007

Mining My Past For Blog Fodder

NOTE: This is a new, regular(ish) feature on ZFS! and it will mostly involve me talking about crap that's happened to me in the past. The stories that I tell in this series of posts will be the most interesting stories you've ever heard and, as an added bonus, they'll make you feel like you've really gotten close to me, C-dog, which is what we all know you really want. We're making connections here, kids; building bridges to a brighter tomorrow where we're all best friends who hang out all the time and have hilarious adventures involving mistaken identities and hunting lodges with multiple entrances and exits like we're in a French farce.

Do enjoy (as if there was any doubt)...

The Coldest Times Of My Life, or, "Sir, I'm Afraid The Balls Have Frozen Off The Brass Monkey... And Yours Are Next!"

1. I had been working at a video store in the East Village and, on this particular day, during my shift the temperature had dropped about thirty degrees. When I, as well as my co-worker Chuck, left the store at 1am, it was about ten degrees outside. Neither of us were dressed appropriately for the weather and, thus, we were about to have one of the more miserable times either of us had ever experienced, even though we were both totally worldly and toughened by life in general. At the time, Chuck and I lived off the same stop on the G train, which, if you're unfamiliar, is the worst train line in all of the NYC subway system. It's the only line that doesn't go into Manhattan (it's route is Brooklyn to Queens) and, making matters worse, it's been the focus of some sort of mysterious, ill-defined construction project for at least the last four years, though probably much longer. Consequently, the trains don't run in a timely fashion, particularly after midnight. So on the night in question, Chuck and I took the L train to the Metropolitan stop and transferred to the G train platform. And there we stood, with only a windbreaker for him and a light hoodie for me, winter weather protection-wise, for about two hours. Keep in mind, there was icy-cold air billowing down into the station from the street above, as well as seeping in from the tunnels on either side of us. I'm sure that this wasn't the case, but I remember us as being the only people down there for the entire duration. I also remember, and this I know is true, that we were both shaking from the cold and that we could barely carry on a conversation because our respective teeth were chattering too hard to allow our mouths to form words. I can't speak for him, but I personally was filled with thoughts that ran somewhere along the lines of, "Just why in the hell would a person want to live in a place where he was forced to put up with shit like this?" Finally, though, after we'd started to fear that we might lose some of our toes, the train came. In a rare stroke of luck, it was a G train in which the heater was actually working. We thawed out on the ride to our stop and were no worse the wear the next day, though you can be sure we both brought coats to work... just in case the situation ever repeated itself.

2. In the last apartment that I lived in, my room had no windows and no air conditioning. In fact, the only source of ventilation was a smallish pipe, covered by a grate, that ran from the top corner of my room to the outside of the building. While it technically let fresh air in, it was so small that it hardly made any sort of difference. The room was, in a word, miserable. Particularly in the summer, when it would feel like I was living in one of those red bags that Domino's uses to keep their pizzas hot while in transit. During the winter, though, the room was fairly manageable; because it was so well insulated (or cut off from the outside, rather), I never even had to have a heavy blanket; a sheet was enough to keep me warm during the coldest of nights. Except for once. On this particular evening, I went to bed with everything at a steady status quo. I woke up about four hours later thinking that I'd been moved in my sleep from the semi-comfort of my room into the walk-in freezer of a nearby restaurant. After coming to my senses, I realized that, yes, I was still in my room. And my room had gone sub-arctic on me. I threw on a sweater and the thickest pair of socks I could find, and then I tried to figure out just why the fuck things had gotten all polar all of a sudden. After hunting around for a minute, I located the source of the problem: The pipe. I guess the wind had shifted juuust right or something, because there was frigid, icy air pumping into my room from outside. I removed the grate (using a dime to turn the screws) and I stuffed a t-shirt into the hole (that's what she said). Then I opened my door and stepped out into our kitchen, which was about twenty to thirty degrees warmer. Needless to say, it took a while for the temperature to even out and I never did get back to sleep that night. The next morning, I removed the t-shirt from the hole and found that ice had formed on the portion of it that was pointing towards the outside. I replaced the grate and the freak cold incident never happened again during my tenure living in that room.

3. When I was about fourteen or so, I played football on the JV team at my junior high school. We were the Oakridge Owls and we were (for a JV squad) surprisingly good. During the course of our practices, one of the usual activities was a rousing spectacle of violence known as "tackling drills." I'm sure you could figure out what it is from the name, but basically it's where two guys line up facing each other about twelve feet apart and, when the whistle blows, they attempt to knock the ever-loving crap out of one another. It's both painful and surprisingly fun and I credit it entirely with making me the incredibly sexy man I am today. Anyway, one day during practice, it began to rain... hard. We're talking a drenching rain, here, and this, coupled with an unseasonable October cold snap, made it feel like we were practicing football in some far-flung Alaskan backwater. Anyway, towards the end of practice, we lined up for the aforementioned tackling drills, same as always, but this time... things were a little different. As the rain fell, it had filled up two trenches on either side of the patch of field where we did our tackling drills; basically, once the drill started and two of us collided, the momentum would more than likely carry us over into about two feet of freezing rain water. And so it did. When it came to be my turn, I lined up opposite my good friend Eli. When the whistle blew, we ran forward, hit, and fell. Two things were immediately clear: One, it felt like we'd fallen into a hole that had been cut into the heart of an ice-skating rink. And two, I was fairly certain the impact from the collision had separated my left arm from the rest of my body. After I'd gotten to the back of the line, I had to squat down and focus all of my energy on not throwing up from the pain, as well as not passing out from the extreme cold. Fortunately, my arm was fine (eventually), and we were told soon after to hit the showers. And the next year, oddly enough, I started getting interested in high school drama.

6 Comments:

Blogger Big Daddy said...

Your football story reminds of this one time during lacrosse paractice and it was freezing outside, I got whacked with the ball square on the knuckles [we weren't wearing gloves because it was just practicing catching] and it felt like I had just punched a glacier.

My knuckles swelled up and I couldn't move them for a few days.

I remember lots of your stories.

Like you getting drunk and passing out at an Outback Steakhouse in California.

Keep 'em comin'.

8:02 PM  
Blogger Cray said...

I like the story of his where he got drunk and foiled Old Mr. Parsons at the abandoned amusement park!

9:15 AM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Big Daddy... Will do. Although, just to clarify, I passed out *behind* an Outback in California. Next to the dumpster. In a puddle of my own vomit. Ah, the good ol' days...

Cray... I showed him! I think. I mean, I don't really remember. I was sooooo drunk!

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Scott H. said...

'Bout time the Oakridge Owls got some pub on here!!

We still talk about that day and how unfathomably miserable it was. My favorite was the fact that every time we made a tackle, we would be fully submerged beneath the water.

Any coach that tried to have his team do that today would be fired immediately.

Club, Lift, and Drive!!!!!!

11:28 AM  
Blogger Clinton said...

I thought you'd like that. Yeah, that's one memory from the Oakridge days that the booze hasn't managed to erase.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Chris W said...

The coldest moment I can remember in my life happened when I was in the 7th or 8th grade. Because I was on the bus route that lived closest to the high school, obviously we were the first ones there. The school decided that since it wasn't school time they didn't need to let us in. So for about 45 minutes they had swarms of kids standing in near zero degree weather. With the wind chill it felt like Frosty The Snow Man was tea-bagging me.
That was the longest 45 minutes of my life. I prayed for death and then they finally opened the doors of the school. A near riot broke out as the kids scurried to get inside.

4:05 PM  

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