“Everyday this year (rain, shine, or snow), I’ll be out sellin’ cd’s door to door. I’m not a salesman. I’m just ready to live my dream.” When I wrote that line about rain, shine, or snow and placed it on my advertising postcards, I was wearing the outfit of optimism: a t-shirt, jeans, and surf shoes. Old man winter surprised my idealistic self today by giving me ice cube toes and frozen fingers for an early Christmas gift.
Yesterday, the high was almost 50 degrees. Today, the thermometer probably peaked in the mid 20’s. Michigan throws what has become a predictable surprise “first snow party” for its faithful residents almost every year. We’re lured into a few exceptionally warm November days, then the wind blows, and our state busts out the cosmic air conditioning unit and dumps wet, white confetti all over us.
The stark reality of it all hit me about five minutes after I started knocking on doors. At the first door, I was still warm and cheerful. Kris, a very sweet lady who answered that door, bought a cd, despite the fact that she just had surgery on her arm. “Today is gonna be great!” I thought. Then the snow began to fall like an invasion of a million tiny white paratroopers. The doorsteps and sidewalks began to resemble the local skating rink in both look and feel, rather than the cement and concrete that my rubber-soled surf shoes so easily navigate.
Another drawback of winter: It looks like dusk from 2 to 5 in the afternoon, and the sun sets promptly at 5:30 pm. People get home from work at five, so I only have 30 minutes of Prime Time cd-selling. Kris was the only person to buy a cd today and one of only five people to answer the door when I knocked. I got a lot of “verbal” pats on the back for being a hard worker, but twenty of the doors had no one behind them.
One bright spot happened when a middle-aged man congratulated me on my work ethic by saying excitedly, “I’ll remember you! How could I forget somebody willing to work hard in weather like this!” After we talked and said our goodbye’s, he raised his voice to add cheerfully, “I look forward to seeing you on tv! You’ll make it! You’re a pusher!” “Thanks!” I cheerfully yelled through my chattering teeth. “Have a a a great d-d-day, S-Sir!”
Another cool moment unfolded when I knocked on an older lady’s door. She said, “My son has your cd already! He goes to Parkside!” I had never been to Parkside Middle School, so I didn’t quite understand the connection between my cd and his junior high. But as I was leaving the house, Trevor, her son, strolled up with a friend. We recognized each other right away because I’d met both of them two weeks ago when I played “My Valentine” and “Fool’s Gold & Fossil Fuel” on a sidewalk that bordered a nearby street.
Today, I shivered as we shot the breeze and caught up a little bit. I even busted out my guitar to play “Red,” Trevor’s favorite tune from the cd. The steel strings on Jacopo, my guitar, felt like they’d been sitting in a freezer. I gotta be honest. I’m starting to wonder how Jacopo is going to hold up this winter.
By the time I limped back to my grey Buick, both of my feet felt like cold stubs. It turns out Hanes’ ankle socks and surf shoes aren’t the best tag team to take on winter. My fall jacket and light mittens also need a winter update. I’m not complaining. I’m just stating the facts. I need winter clothes.
Although shopping doesn’t top my “Favorite Things List”, the time has arrived. Tomorrow I’m taking a day to shop for proper gloves, a coat, and boots. It’s either that or frostbite, which leads to gangrene, which leads to amputation, which leads to no more walking or guitar playing, which leads to not “living my dream.” If you would like to suggest where I should go for winter clothes that can handle the fashion police and a Michigan winter, let me know pronto. I want to be prepared when Michigan starts throwing around its next batch of white confetti.