East of Normal

Shoulder-hunching time

By the time you read this, we’ll be enmeshed in the most depressing part of the year, the time after the holidays when nothing goes on. Sure, there’s the Super Bowl, if you’re into that sort of thing. Valentine’s Day? Whoopdee fricken doo. OK, it’s a romantic night of respite in what is otherwise the suckiest month of the year, but then what? St. Patrick’s Day? That’s too far away to think about. And what am I going to do then anyway? Go to a bar and not drink? Whoopee!
     At least we won’t have 6-foot snow drifts to worry about. Then again, an inch of snow in Nashville and the entire city goes crazy. Milk! Milk! Run to the store and get milk! What is it with snow and milk? You never hear about anyone bolting to the store for a can of Folger’s. I mean, milk is nice on your cereal or something like that, but coffee — now there’s a necessity. (What do lactose-intolerant people do when it snows? Must be a lonely time for those people.) And don’t get me started about cigarettes. I don’t smoke anymore, but let me tell you, back in the day I was a damn chimney. I remember one winter walking three quarters of a mile to the Mapco to buy a pack, slipping, sliding, and freezing my ass off, feeling every inch the addict I was. And what else did I buy as long as I was there? Damn milk.
     So our soupçon of snow might take up a cumulative two weeks of our winter, with people driving like idiots, taking the dog for really short walks, making do. But you know what’s worse than the snow in winter? The damn rain! Nothing is more depressing than cold rain in February. Gray skies. Misplacing the umbrella. Making a new umbrella out of coat hangers and all the bills from Christmas. You ever notice how you hunch your shoulders up when running to your car in the rain? What the hell? You don’t stay a single bit dryer by hunching your shoulders when you’re running in the rain, but everybody still does it. Hopefully they’re not running in the rain to the Mapco for a half-gallon of milk and a pack of cigs.
     Now I don’t want to be all Joe Negative here. This time of year does have its good points. Releasing records, for example. All the heavy hitters put out new stuff in time for the Christmas market, leaving the post-holiday hangover open for guys like me. The way to do it is plan on a mid-February release. This makes January more exciting, because you’re preparing for the release and your record still sounds good to you. Then you have a ray of sunshine in February, a little attention, some kind words, and by the time no one gives a shit anymore, it’s getting warm outside.
     All in all, however, no matter how mild the winter may turn out to be, no matter how often the sun might actually shine in February, Donald Trump will still be president. Gird your loins, put your head down, and barrel through it. This is new territory. We all might wind up hunching our shoulders whether it’s raining or not.
Tommy Womack is a Nashville singer-songwriter, musician, and freelance writer. Keep up with his antics on Facebook and at tommywomack.com.