Weekly Shocks' Blog



More snow?! Son of a … now I have to drag my couch outside to mark my damn parking space again!

I'm so homesick right now.

I'm so homesick right now.

Let’s get one thing straight: I love New England winters. I mean that with all sincerity. In fact, one of the regrets I occasionally dwell on when I consider my trade-in of “New England” for “England Classic” is that I no longer get to experience the brutality and sheer entertainment value of Massachusetts in January. This entertainment value is admittedly a bit odd to an outsider, but nonetheless palpably charming to those who get it. It generates from the following premise: New Englanders, I am proud to report, can bitch and moan about absolutely anything, and they do it better than anyone else on the planet.  That’s never more true than during winter. You’ll occasionally see some poor fool from another part of the US (Midwesterners are notorious for this) attempt to engage in a pissing contest with a New Englander over just how miserable his winters are. The New Englander will win every damn time, I promise, not necessarily because our winters are in fact worse, but because we have so much practice exaggerating their horrors. Bitching about winter is the local pastime here when we pause momentarily from our rants about how the ^%^$ Yankees stole yet another player from the Sox. I think a rough breakdown of The Top 3 New England Bitch Fests runs through the following subjects in this order:

1) Terrible winters

2) Filthy invaders from other parts of the US coming to New England and bitching about our terrible winters

3) Scott Boras

You may fail to see the appeal of a perpetually whining population, but that’s probably because you grew up in a place less susceptible to sports curses and cheesy Matt Damon movies about boy geniuses working as janitors and befriending abrasive-but-lovable psychiatrists/burnouts. Also, our accents are really horrible. I’m sorry for that. The point is that all of us stodgy Yanks are in this horrible place together and no one but us understands just how bloody godawful it is. God, I loved it. I get the warm fuzzies just thinking about it.

But I don’t get to experience that joy anymore because I just had to go to grad school in another damn country. What a loser I am. We have something resembling winter here in Oxford, but frankly, it’s a bit pathetic. As you might expect, it rains constantly, and not proper rain either, but miserable, misting, drizzling stuff that never, ever stops and blocks out any sunlight that may have occurred in the roughly 45 minutes the sun is actually up during winter. It almost never snows, and when it does, a minuscule dusting of the stuff will cover the streets and the entire country panics and shuts down completely. Armageddon is declared, people run (and slip) through the streets screaming, sobbing, wretching: in short, losing whatever stiff-necked English dignity they once had. It’s very sad.

Oh, bother, the Apocalypse is upon us.

Oh, bother, the Apocalypse is upon us.

What makes it worse is that Oxford is utterly gorgeous in the snow: it’s like something out of a Dickensian novel with its grace and charm and it’s frankly just sickening. Gimme the dirt and grime of the Boston stuff, complete with cursing cab drivers, Cadillac-sized potholes, and the occasional well-placed pile of dog poo. That’s what winter’s all about. Well, that and that f(*cking jackass Boras trying to screw the Sox out of yet another player. That knob.

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