These are the first days of spring, the thaw (from a very short period of freeze, honestly) is upon us, and the entire world smells like the inside of a wet paper bag. The snow is nearly gone from the yard (and it hadn’t been there all that long), the lake and the river have opened back up, and the roadsides are littered with the detritus that had been hidden under the snow: stray sweatshirts, crushed Red Bull cans, random parts of automobiles. I know this because I got out for my second ride of the season — see what a streak I’m on? — this one much less wet than the first. Just took a quick jaunt up the hill to Albany Rural Cemetery again, and then a little farther on to Siena College, by which time the previously bright day had turned to drizzle and I headed back down the hill. It’s one of those rides that takes literally half as long on the return as it does on the way out, because of the way the hills run.
All this melting has brought prodigious fog, which made a drive out to some western reaches of the area more than bit treacherous tonight. I actually had to put on my flashers as insurance against some lumbering tractor-trailer not noticing me, as visibility was down to about 20 feet in spots. Slow, slow going. But very cool, still. For a while it wasn’t clear if it was fog, or if the clouds had just come down that low — it was just continuous vapor from the ground to the sky.
I was tempted to reward myself on the way back with a shake from Coldstone Creamery, something outrageously chocolatey and heavy, but I couldn’t face a repeat of the debacle from last summer when I tried to reap that reward. The shake seemed to require special ingredients from “the back,” which took some time to procure (long enough that I figured the 20-something scooper was burning one on the way over — and if you don’t know what I mean, you’ve gotta get into the special features on your “Big Lebowski” disc). Eventually he re-emerged, cellphone to ear, and said to me, “Dude! We’re outta milk!” He then explained how the person on the other end of his conversation, his purported “buddy,” would be able to bring some milk from the store, like, really soon.
See, here’s my thing: I’m way into my 40s. I don’t answer to “dude.” Don’t call me “dude.” Just don’t. (And not “his dudeness” or “el duderino,” either, whether or not you’re into the whole brevity thing.) So, I bailed, and since then have feared each time I have gone there that they might not have some essential ingredient that is the very basis of their business model. Tonight, I just wouldn’t have been able to take the heartbreak.