26 February 2010

Another Storm

Yesterday morning, the wind drove the rain and whipped the snow around. That, of course, made the weather seem even colder than it actually was. The rain and snow melded into something wet, heavy and frozen that was neither rain or snow but turned, instead, into needles that pricked the cold, wet wind into the pores they opened.

Toward evening, those raindrops/snowflakes puffed into white, almost cloudlike clumps that were still too dense and wet to be called flakes. Surprisingly, students in the last class I taught actually paid attention to the lesson. Of course, once that class ended, most of them left campus as quickly as they could.

I stayed for a while after class ended. I had work to do, and I figured that the snow wasn't going to affect the subway, at least not too much. I normally don't mind being out in the snow, at least when it's fluffy. But last night's precipitation was merely slush in whiteface, so I wasn't especially eager to venture out into it, even though I wanted to leave the college and go home.

In a way, my desire to go home was ironic. This winter has seemed, if not brutal, at least endless, as it seems to have grabbed us on Thanksgiving weekend, when I moved into my current place. My friends are elsewhere. So, I feel, are the allies and friendly colleagues I have had at the college. The prof with whom I talked most often is out on maternity leave. Others seem less friendly. I thought that was merely my own perception, or misperception, but Anita, who used to work as an office manager in the writing program, also seems to think so. She brought it up during our conversation after we bumped into each other in a ladies' room. I hadn't seen her in at least a year, since she was transferred to another department in another part of the campus I have almost no reason to go to.

The prof whose office is across from mine has been rather friendly since we broke the ice early last semester. However, I hardly talk to some of the faculty members with whom I used to spend time. That's happening as I--and they--spend more time on campus, partly because our class sizes and the demands placed on us have increased, and partly because of the weather. Under those conditions, I feel sometimes as if we were in a modern-day iteration of Hitler's bunkers.

When people are hunkered down in the same place away from the same storm, that doesn't always produce camaraderie, much less empathy or friendship. But weathering the same storm might. At least, that seems to have happened on my way home last night, when I met a young trans woman in the ATM vestibule. She's new to town, and I told her where to go for counseling, medical care and other things.

She is in--or, at least, she is entering--storms like the one I've weathered. Perhaps we will meet again. Perhaps the storm will pass, or at least lessen, for her.

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