Whited Out

by DarkMark Twain

I knew it was bad, but I had no choice. The later it got, the worse it got. I sure as hell didn't want to be stranded at 'weird Kevin's' house. Shit, I think Kevin was the reason Prozac was invented, that boy is off. I had to make a decision. Should I risk staying the night at a madman's house, or should I try to make it home to the safety and comfort of my own crib?

As Bob Marley said, "My feet are my only carriage, so I gotta push on through ... hey ... Everything is gonna be alright, Everything's gonna be alright now ..." . Sure, I was on foot but I figured, what the hell, ... how bad can it be? It's only snow.

Saying that THAT was only snow, was like saying a typhoon is only rain. The differentiating factor in both would be force and volume. But I'm talking VOLUME TIMES TEN THOUSAND!!!

I sensed this fact more than I could see it. The strong Lake Erie wind blew so fiercely that the flakes came at you sideways rather than from above. Although my face was pretty well covered up, my eyes had to remain naked so that I could half-see.

The nude orbs took such a torture from the stinging frozen bullets that they could barely stay open. My quick developing strategy to keep my eyeballs from literally freezing in my head was kind of crazy, but necessary. I decided to open my eyes only on the fourth or fifth step that I'd take. I had walked home many times from there and could visualize the steps and markers I'd need to find my way back. At least that's the theory. All totaled, it was probably less than a mile from my house. By the time I had gotten home, the normal twenty minute walk had taken an hour and a half.

Each blink that I would try to smuggle past the ruthless barrage of white, revealed a scene too strange for even sci-fi. Around me in every direction was 'virgin' snow. Not a footprint, tire track or a single blemish on the ground for as far as I could see. It had a kinky artistic quality that appealed to me. The starkness, the desolation, the solitude. I was the only fool outside during this nonsense. It was very cold and very uncomfortable in very many ways. Man vs. Nature in a steel cage, last man standing, grudge match. As long as I can survive, then I win.

The farther I walked, the spookier the visuals became. Soon the landscape looked less like art and more like a bombed out, deserted city. The mangled remains of a Nissan truck and a VW wagon who got to know each other, head-on, now lay like discarded carcasses on a stark white salt flat.

Mounds of snow where mailboxes used to be, mounds of snow where cars used to be, and mountains of snow where the street signs used to be. It's easy to get disoriented when you can only squeeze out a blink every ten feet or so. My confidence in my homing skills was on the slide and I wasn't quite sure I was going the right way. At this point is when I started to feel the cold. I mean -- THE COLD!

It was the kind of cold that would even make Charles Manson believe in God. Hell, this kind of cold would make Charlie become a alter boy instantly and an archbishop overnight. It went in ya', through ya' and all over ya' ass.

Only three things I could hear at point. Howling winds that ripped at me and screamed it's banshee war cry for all to hear. The steady crunching of the snow beneath my feet that reminded me of eating potato chips in my warm living room watching idiots on TV news, stuck in blizzards and thinking how stupid they must be. Lastly, I could hear my heartbeat. It was getting stronger and faster the more I thought about how screwed up this whole scene was becoming.

If it was possible, the storm got worse. A scarf was around my mouth and nose so that the warm air I'd exhale would heat my face a little. My nose was useful for little else than a snot dispenser. Sensory input from the olfactory smelling nerves was as out of business as the old factories in our smelly old town.

During one of my blind-walking periods I came to an abrupt stop. A 12 foot snow drift had blocked the road. I actually walked in the white stuff right up to where it reached my knees before I knew what was up. On one side was a deep ditch so naturally I went to the other side of the drift to go around it. Surprise, surprise! On the other side of snow mountain was an angry German shepherd and he looked like he meant business. "Don't FUCK with me you four-legged Motherfucker, I'll open up that ass and step inside your stanking carcass, ... stay warm like they did in 'Star Wars'." He must've been familiar with George Lucas's work, he scattered before I turned him into a sleeping bag..

I didn't waste any time from that moment on. Once I stood up to the Nazi bow-wow I got a second wind. Next thing I knew, I was home trying to dethaw every appendage I still had on my body. What a nightmare.

After I warmed up, in my thoughts, I still felt the other coldness of Buffalo, NY. The feeling of being written off and not taken seriously, destined for doom. The unemployment, the racism and the lack of hope. I turned on the TV to escape the depression and I was shown a landscape whiter than the one I'd just left outside. Rather than white snow, I was now bombarded by White people. They were on every station, every commercial, every cartoon and played every theatrical part that was to be seen. Hell, they even played Native Americans. On the airwaves, my heritage as an African American had also been 'whited out' and 'buried deep'. I had to ask myself, which 'white storm' was worse. To this day, I'm not sure.

Whited Out by DarkMark Twain

© Copyright 2002. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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