Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Story Telling - What's that Sound?

Tuesday morning, my manager replied, 'We'd like you to wrap everything up by Friday. We'll pay you next week until the 25th, but you don't have to come into the office.'


For my paid time off, I scheduled a training session on how to create a calendar for charity. I have another business endeavor to go on. I might even boogie down to Brooklyn to talk to the principals of Art To Frames.

Business may or may not be good, but I'll certainly be busy.

So while I wrap things up in my job, my story telling streak emerged. The cooler temperatures are prompting me to tell this story.

When I lived in the Minneapolis, MN area, I drove a 1982 Mercury Lynx that I bought for $177.00 from my brother. The car was nearly guaranteed to run to 150,000 miles so I nursed it along month by month, year after year.

A brutal cold snap gripped the Twin Cities area and I fired up my car to drive to the University of Minnesota where I was enrolled.

About a mile from the campus on Interstate 35W north, the car started gasping its final breaths. The head cracked, I think, and the heater core burst because my windows fogged and I could barely keep the car running on the freeway.

Luckily, there was an exit.

I nursed the dying car up the off ramp and coasted silently into the parking lot of a small light-industrial business.

I sat in my car aware of the time. 'Hmm.' I thought. 'It's minus-30 below out there and I'm a mile away from campus.'

There are a few technical problems when the temperatures go down that far. Exposed skin can get frostbite in minutes.

A steady wind blew small puffs of icy snow past me as I sat in my dead car.

So the wind chill would only add to the danger.

I packed my school bag full of books. I looked through the car for as many clothes as I could find.

I tucked my glasses into my inside jacket pocket and I took my scarf and wrapped it around my head and face, up my nose just below my eyes. I pulled my hat down to my eyes so I could barely see through a slit between the hat and scarf. I pulled my hood over my head. I closed my eyes and took a last breath of relatively warm air.

My gloved hand opened the stiff door handle and I emerged into the frigid air.

'Ouch.' I said softly as the simple pain caused by such cold hit me. I looked through the narrow slit and walked towards campus.

Step by step I pressed onwards knowing that I only had a mile to walk and I gauged my path so that I walked between buildings on the lee side of the wind.

Finally I approached the bridge that crossed over 35W and would land me on campus.

By now the pain from the cold started affecting my toes and my face as wind seeped through my scarf. I tried to breathe so that moisture would not dampen my scarf and let ripping cold through.

Step by step I trudged, slowing a little when I stepped on the bridge.

The cold started wearing me down and I came to a simple realization. Too long in this cold and I could die. Wow.

Step by step, I passed over the bridge. The steady wind blew into the side of my face.

Step by step.

Finally, I traversed the bridge and ducked into a bus shelter to get a reprieve from the biting wind. My fingers hurt now, too, and I balled them inside my gloves because the fingers provided little warmth.

I closed my eyes briefly and inhaled slowly, exhaling carefully upwards and I opened my eyes again.

Confused, I heard a strange sound.

*tink* *tink-tink* *tink*

Perplexed, I looked for the source.

*tink* *tink-tink* *tink-tink*

Softly I laughed.

Icicles that formed on my eye lashes made a tinkling sound every time I blinked!

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