There are few more welcomed moments in life than the realization that spring has finally and unequivocally announced its arrival in our immediate geographic area. We are heartyish Northerners, of course, who grit our teeth through five months of crapbag weather in order to smugly and annoyingly over-enjoy the other seven. But even though the past few days have reverted back to cold, dreary, desolate hellscapes of weather, we know we’re slowly, steadily marching towards nice weather. And damn, it feels good.
It’s not always the cheerful sun and the lack of immediate frostbite that herald the arrival of spring, however. Not in Gloucester. There are other, equally wonderful clues to which we are accustomed. Like the following:
– Potholes. Sweet Potato Chip Jesus, are we ever in pothole season. I keep expecting to see meerkats popping up out of them, they are so plentiful and deep, like they are part of an underground network by which children can run to Ed’s mini mart for candy without ever reaching street level. This is why I never tailgate – I mean firstly because I’m not an asshole, but secondly so that I can see the potholes coming. These motherfuckers will tear out your damn drivetrain. You have 4WD? Not anymore you don’t, also your drive shaft is dragging along Prospect St, you may wanna get that checked out. My favorite variation of pothole is the one stuffed full of cigarette butts and McDonalds wrappers.
– The Detritus Emerges. Here comes the shit we’ve buried deep in our hearts and snowbanks. With the Great Thaw of the last few weeks, our glaciers have receded and the crud is coming to light. Just walking around yesterday, I bore witness to a veritable cavalcade of treasure. I saw a condom, a pair of black underwear, one solitary leather glove, 6 nip bottles, and Pete Rose. This, this is why we can’t dump snow in the ocean. A literal fucking couch appeared out of a snowbank on my street recently. AN ENTIRE COUCH. If we don’t find a cadaver somewhere in this city under some oversized snowbank, I’ll be surprised. If this was the winter I needed to dump a body, I’d be in luck.
– There is Life Outside. Earlier in the week, Joey C over at Good Morning Gloucester posted the requisite sign of spring on Rogers St: The return of the men who sit outside the St. Peter’s Club. Like the return of other migrating species, these gentlemen have finally completed their long, seasonal journey from… inside the St. Peter’s Club. It is recommended to leave protein sources nearby so they can regain the calories they spent hibernating, usually in the form of beer nuts.
It’s not just the return of benchfolk, but the other signs of life outside our windows as well: children playing in the streets, knocking each other off large icy embankments, families literally screaming at each other, people working on their cars. I didn’t think there was any possible way for me to be excited to hear the guy in one of the houses next door shrieking insults at his girlfriend, but it turns out I was kind of glad that it was warm enough for them to take their personal business into the literal middle of the street.
– The Bicycles Return. I am enjoying this one in particular this spring, as most of you know I owned a bike shop for the four years previous, and the dawn of spring meant insane business, which was great, but also overwhelming, and long hours killed us. With that tomfoolery behind me, I am free to notice the beginnings of the cycling season for the heartiest of us all, without the impending sense of dread. Sure, there are the few year-round riders – mostly DUI offenders or lumbersexual hipsters – but even I, Bike Shop Owner, will wait a few weeks until I bring out my cyclocross bike, lest I accidentally end up falling into a crevasse in the paved earth like the beginning of Land of the Lost (I’ll bring back dinosaurs, I promise). They’re coming out, now, some of the braver souls – the ones in Bruins gear and single-speeds, those unconcerned by errant pieces of wet dog poo, driftwood, or finishing nails dropped by the angry weather gods.
I won’t dance around the fact that we still have a long way to go before we can bust out the cargo shorts and flip flops – there is still an entire picnic table buried in my backyard, even the very top of which has not yet been unearthed in the thaw. I still can’t park my cars correctly in my driveway, and I’m still walking in the goddamn middle of the street all the time.
But damn, it’s a start.