Winter Wonderland

By Scott King

Cold is not your enemy. It’s the wind chill that’ll get ya. The trees are bare. The grass is matte. It’s cold and gray outside. Atlanta is a different city in winter, and by winter I mean January and February.

That’s a good thing. Would you really want all year round to be summer when the pretty boys are showing it off and making no apologies? Would you really want the only sport to be baseball? Would you really want the only food to be barbecue? I love a good pool party, but that chlorine really messes with my hair’s natural curl.

Embrace the winter. Embrace the cold. Embrace the changing seasons while we still have them. Winter is a time for contemplation. A time for staying indoors, not that we haven’t learned anything about that in the last two years. But staying indoors on purpose. Leaning into our inner hobbit and finding a warm space in our respective holes in the wall that we can call the hearth, the home.

This all reminds me of an iconic scene from Season 6 of “The West Wing.” Josh Lymon has just walked into the lobby of a fancy hotel in New Hampshire. It’s January, and it’s snowing gently outside. In the lobby, he spots his ex-girlfriend Amy, who is greedily licking a thick ice cream cone stacked high with Rocky Road. Her tonguing motions are vaguely sexual. Maybe it’s just me.

Josh: Hi.
Amy: Hi.
Josh: A little cold for ice cream, isn’t it? I mean, you could have bought just cream.
Amy: I embrace the cold.
Josh: Okay.
Amy: I luxuriate in the cold.
Josh: Can I ask you…?
Amy: I fight cold with more cold.
Josh: What are you doing in New Hampshire?
Amy: I could ask you the same thing, but in your case, it’s more of an existential question, now isn’t it?
Josh: When I want dark depressing thoughts about alienation and nothingness, I watch cable news.

Right on, bro.

This iconic scene begs the question. What are we doing here? How are we adapting to our environment? Are we shivering in submission and acquiescence or are we fighting cold with more cold? Where’s my Rocky Road?

Binaries are underrated. You can get a lot out of life by seeing it as a study in opposites. Of transitions. Change is the only constant in the universe. Did you really expect the fall weather to hold?

I’m an extrovert. I love connecting with people, and I LOVE going out. And then coming home. I’m 40 years old. So, at the end of the day, I don’t have time for this bullshit. I’ve learned to aim for the sweet spot of social life. Go out, do your thing, and then close your tab at 1:30 a.m. I swear to you it is the best feeling in the world. It is salvation. I’ve got all the extroversion out of my system for the next 48 hours. I know that once I close that tab and my escort and I go our separate ways in separate Ubers, I will be home shortly to play with my phone and watch “Golden Girls” until I fall asleep.

It’s called white privilege. And it sure beats the hell out of this depression and anxiety everyone’s gossiping about.

As you’re counting all your hashtags and blessings, focus on this moment. The privilege that you have to travel about the world freely, and the pleasure you get from returning to your home, your cave when the day’s pleasure cruise is done.

And celebrate winter. Where I come from, if someone has an accidental pregnancy, a common thing to say is, well, that’s why God gives you nine months, to get used to the idea of being a parent. Same thing with winter. Beach bodies don’t happen overnight. Especially after Christmas. Eat, drink, and be merry. For tomorrow we die. I hear it’s supposed to snow at least two inches.

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