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New England, You're On Notice: One More Winter Like This And I'm Outta Here

When Steve Almond first arrived in Boston 15 years ago, he considered the winter a novelty. But this year's endless freeze has him dreaming about a return to his native California. (Elise Amendola/AP)MoreCloseclosemore
When Steve Almond first arrived in Boston 15 years ago, he considered the winter a novelty. But this year's endless freeze has him dreaming about a return to his native California. (Elise Amendola/AP)

My wife loves the snow. She thinks it’s pretty! She thinks blizzards make our house cozy. I don’t blame her for this. She’s from Connecticut.

I, on the other hand, am from Palo Alto, just south of San Francisco. To me, the months between November and April are set aside for shivering and depression, with occasional squalls of rage.

But an interesting thing happened last week. My wife revealed to me that she had been looking online at houses for sale — in California.

My parents, who had just arrived for a visit on the front edge of yet another epic storm, sensed the opportunity.

My mother spent the week dropping hints. “I’ll leave my winter coat here,” she said. “I can’t imagine I’ll need it at home.”

My father opted for a more direct approach. He took my wife out to lunch and offered to help us buy a house in California.

Who can blame them?

A dozen years ago, we expected global warming to steadily tame our winters. Instead, this new polar vortex thing has reduced us to simpering popsicles.

To be clear: both my wife and I love Boston. We love our friends. We the city’s neighborhoods, its literary culture and sense of history.

What we don’t love is multiple snow days and the resulting cabin fever. And lingering bronchial infections. And shoveling. And black ice. And slippery roads. And weekly grocery store panics. And cancelled flights. And sidewalks decked with smog-tinged slush. And the constant anxious monitoring of weather.com.

For me, the final straw came the morning my folks flew out. On the way to the car, my dad slipped and smashed his noggin on the frozen sidewalk.

This was the moment I put New England on official notice.

One more winter like this and you won’t have the Almonds to bully around any more.

Steve Almond Twitter Cognoscenti contributor
Steve Almond is the author of 11 books of fiction and nonfiction. He writes Cog's advice column, #HeavyMeddle, and is the co-host of Dear Sugar Radio.

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