This is that magical day in Park Slope when everyone drags their dry-ass brittle Christmas trees into the street and leaves them there for the garbage guys. First off, can anything be more depressing? And secondly, I wonder how much sap those guys get on their gloves, because all those trees are covered with it (oh, and dog urine).
This is the time in New York City that makes people move away. The holiday lights have faded, the Upliftin’ Christian radio stations have stopped playing “What Child is This?” and there’s nothing left but the prospect of freezing rain and 4:30 sunsets. I fully understand why restless seniors say “fuck this” and buy an Airstream to stick at the Roarin’Hollow RV Park in Pensacola, Florida.
My least favorite part of winter? Brown, diesel-colored snow. I look upon dirty snow the way Sisyphus looked upon the giant rock as it slid past him down the hill for the 44 billionth time. For me, dirty snow reminds me of the parking lot at the Hy-Vee supermarket in Cedar Rapids, IA circa 1979 – I burned my pinkie with my brother Steve’s soldering iron, and it hurt so bad that I had to hold my hand in the brown slush just to dull the sensation.
Frankly, I don’t know how people live in places like Duluth, Cleveland or Detroit. I’ll suffer through these winters because I’m 15 minutes from the Museum of Modern Art and a Broadway play, but how does the rest of northern America do it? Perhaps I am kept warm by my abject snobbery.
So I’ll let my mind wander where it is still nice and balmy: down in rural Georgia, yards from my buddy Salem, is the Woodbridge Inn, owned by Hans Reufort. Hans’ father was an East German soldier who threw his gun down and ran for the Berlin Wall, dodging bullets all the way. He made it over, and settled with his family in Jasper. Now Hans is a very eccentric, wonderful fellow who is NOW A FINALIST to be the NEXT FOOD NETWORK STAR.
I’ve eaten there: the lamb is unthinkably good. Now the inimitable Hans has a chance to be on the Food Network, but it can only happen if you vote for him on the site. Just look for “Hans from Talking Rock, GA” and give him a little click. He’s one of the good guys. Not a bullshit whiner like me.