This morning I pulled onto the highway and into a snowy moment. I say moment because in spring, in Montana, that’s how the weather arrives. And departs. By the moment. As my car accelerated up a small hill I realized it was exactly 32 degrees, which as we all know around here, means the roads are as slippery as snot. So I slowly drove a few hundred yards when Eliza started asking her hallmark 4,001 questions. When we get in the car, that child starts firing off questions and she doesn’t stop until I pull up the parking break, open the door and announce it’s time to get out. That is unless I tell her I’m taking a break from questions, which I often do because she never seems to run out of them. But this morning I let her go and it went something like this:
I like to think I’m a fairly tech savvy kind of girl. I’m the one who downloads updates, figures out the wireless modem and installs printer drivers. In other words, for those of you who grew up in the 1980s as I did, I’m the one who programs the VCR in our household. And I like to think this computer I’m typing on actually belongs to me, by default, because I’m the one who knows how to work it. Then I sit down with iTunes as I did the other morning and I get schooled in an application I’m not sure I understand. The most shocking part of this little walk down a back alley called “What the…?” was the fact that not only does my husband understand iTunes, he has another life, wide and vast, in places I never venture. Librivox. EconTalk. Alternative Radio.
But these days I’m considering a bumper sticker for pure logistical reasons. The other day I nearly loaded my groceries into someone else’s car. I need an identifier, a red flashing arrow that says, “Savage, this is your car!” I need something that makes my dirty, winter-worn, silver 2006 Subaru Outback stand out from all the other dirty, winter-worn, silver 2006 Subaru Outbacks in Missoula. I could get one of those MisSOULa bumper stickers, I thought. But it would not help my car stand out because if there is anything more ubiquitous in Missoula than having a Subaru, it’s have a MisSOULa sticker on the back window of your Subaru. I was having this little conversation in my head as I pushed my empty cart back to the store and realized then that this scenario sounded like an episode out of Portlandia, the sketch comedy — quickly becoming a cult classic — that pokes gentle, loving fun at the smug, elite, sanctimonious side of the city of Portland.
Two days ago I woke up to this Facebook status update from my friend Bobbie who lives in Eugene.
“Dear month of February: I don’t know what hurt your inner child has suffered that you had to pack such a punch every single day so far. And now this hissy fit storming? Use the leap day this year to get your self-help on, girl. And don’t let the door hit your butt too hard on the way out.”
I wrote to tell her I thought her description of February was spot on and asked if I could quote her.
“Absolutely!” she said. “I’ve decided February is some kind of stone, cold bitch the last couple years.”
In case you missed February’s departure in the wee hours this morning I’m here to tell you the stone, cold bitch has officially gone away. For another year. We Northwestners have done our penance. It’s over. And no one is happier about it than me.