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Friday January 18, 2002, 06:12

"This," I thought, "is exactly what it should feel like," as I walked out the door this morning and headed to work. The sky was overcast, a blanket of white, and the air had a nice, wintery chill. Not, mind you, the kind of chill that makes you cry, to wrap your scarf around your head, not merely your neck, and seriously consider not leaving your office for lunch. No, this chill was simply the kind that required that I wrap my scarf a little tighter around my neck, pull my arms a little tighter into my body. I could see my breath in front of me and that was fine.

It is the middle of January after all, and there is no way that I am going to get through this winter without at least one snow storm. I refuse to let it happen. Last year (though I suppose at this point we're talking about one year ago, the year before last), the city had something around a foot of snow dumped on it just before the New Year. The city was silent. Streets, normally filled with cars, barely even carried snow plows, let alone taxis. I walked up and down the avenues around where I was staying and stuck my tongue out to catch the falling flakes.

This year has been downright tropical by those standards. And it's true that I complain a lot about the cold when I am actually standing in it, face frozen in permanent grimace from the wind ripping against my face. But that's why I live here. That's why I didn't move to California to be with the beautiful vapid (but so tan) people. Half of the year the entire Northeast suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder, and that's just fine by me. When the sky is a ball of happiness three-hundred sixty four days a year, you grow complacent. You aren't ready when life throws you those curve balls. You are soft.

And snow is just pretty, you know?

[...]

There is a note in my coat pocket (a coat that is quite necessary in the chill of the January air, but not as necessary as it should be), on a piece of paper in a small, spiral bound, top-flap notepad, that reads "time stands still at the rock and roll show."

There is a caveat there, of course, which involves some sort of true believe in said rock and roll show. The desire to rock must be present. But if that is the case then standing there, pre-show music playing, smoke drifting across the bar, the sound check proceeding as planned (that is to say at least fifteen, if not more, minutes late), the world ceases its everyday movement. Voluntarily packed into a room that has no right to be a rock venue, the only indication of time progressing as planned is the clock on the left side of the stage (as you're facing it). Mutters of "will they start already" come from behind me and I can only hope that this individual is not truly so bold as to imply that the Show progress at her pace and not its own. For time in the rock venue does not conform to the rules of everyday life.

The lights dim, the music fades, and the band members, mostly unwashed and most likely tired from a night on the road breeze on, reaching for instruments, drinking water or beer and preparing to rock. The clock on the wall, the cheap plastic clock, can no longer keep up with the force that bursts off the stage. The time shapers cum rock band size control of minds and bodies in time and space and I, for one, can no longer make sense of the passing minutes. Time is replaced by music and as heads bob and hair swings, bodies sweat and smoke clings, time, always forward marching, ceases to exist.

I leave the venue, and find that only an hour has passed in the outside world. I return home, absolutely charged, for in that hour, a lifetime of experience has passed through me, packed in that tiny little room with the cheap plastic clock.

As expected, I can walk home with my coat unbuttoned. Not so cold these days.

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