shoveling a path to infinity

i went out this morning to survey the car situation.
last night i swept the snow off the car twice and pulled the wipers from the windshield, leaving them sticking out of the snow bubble the car is like some giant bug’s legs.
today, standing in front of the car, the first thing i think about before digging it out of the snowbank is this; will it kill me.
this isn’t borne of any particular fatalism – though for a split-second i consider it a swift way off this planet – and i can remember, as i grew up, it being “urban legend” about middle-aged men who met their end with a snow shovel in their hand.
i need to further qualify that i never knew or heard of any friend’s fathers who died this way. however, i do remember a girl named maria-lena whose dad died after bowling eleven games, teaching me early-on that eleven might not always be a lucky number and bowling is every bit as dangerous as digging your car out of the snow.

this has been my process for as long as i can remember.

next, shovel in hand, i look for where my “point of entrance” would be; where the first shovelful would be extracted and thrown into the street behind me.
what i’m doing is telling myself that i’m an active geezer who walks a lot, hikes with his dog and cycles in the kinder seasons.
i momentarily flash on a blue ross ten-speed and me cycling from tribeca to sheepshead bay in a blizzard in what?….the seventies?
i do these things to prop myself up, to say “i can do this.”
i say that if i pace myself, i’ll be fine.
that there’s no race here.
that i have all day.
all of this whirrs and clicks in a matter of seconds in my hard drive.
i begin to shovel.
a tiny voice way back inside tells me to crank it up, get it going, MAKE A MOVE.
i imagine this; the sky opens up as my arms work, my breath chugs and the snow clears, one heavy, wet chunk at a time.
neither racing nor slacking, i listen to my heartbeat thumping deep in my ear canal.
yeah, when i’m doing this stuff, it’s all about me.
working in stages, i’m here and gone and here again.
a few hours pass.
maxx is in the car as the engine warms up and i drop it into gear.
the car slips out of the snowpocket and lurches forward.
i’m good.
i’ll head out for sheephead bay shortly.
the snow-shovel epilogue;
once again i will not fall, slow-motion, into eternity as attractive i might paint it.
i will not launch off to “the eighth-electro-plasma-ocean of the ninth dimension……,” not just yet.

nor will i go bowling tonight.
that shit could kill ya.

About stephen trimboli

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