It had already been a strange sort of day.

Everyone had waited for the Mitchell Report to drop; in the hours prior, word of a leaked list spread. The names included in that collection of ballplayers had freaked me out – the suggestion that the soul of the current Red Sox lineup was included honestly threatened to break my heart* – but then the actual report arrived, it was captain-free, and life was okay again for the most part.** But that was strange.

The snow came as predicted, and I climbed onto a bus at around 3:30 to head back into the city. It wasn’t my usual bus, but one that typically gets me to Kenmore in 31 minutes. After about an hour and a half, our bus sat in gridlock across Commonwealth from Agganis. The driver explained that another hour stood between us and Kenmore, so it probably be quicker for us to get out and hop onto the T. He was right. But that was strange.

I stopped at the grocery store to buy my snowed-in sustenance: soup, bread, Peppermint Patties. And when I arrived at home and realized I was the first to arrive, I decided to set my bag o’ treats inside and set to the task of shoveling off the stairs of our brownstone. Because I am that great a roommate.

This was right around the time things got really strange.

I completed my task, which took longer than expected, without gloves. My shoveling globes were inside…it would have taken longer to go inside and get the gloves and go back outside…blah blah…anyway. I shoveled. I went inside. I began to make my soup. I called Beth to chat snow.

I was stirring my soup when I made the discovery.

“Huh. That’s strange. Really weird.” I held up my hand and inspected it.

“What’s strange?”

I kept looking. “My hand. It’s kind of swollen. Like, the fingertips have swollen. And the skin feels all stretched. And the pads of my fingers are sticking out. It’s strange.”


That was Beth’s reaction. And my mother’s, especially once I realized a few fingers on my other hand were doing the same thing. And my brother’s, as I explained that it only hurt when I touched my fingers and realized there was no real…give to them. The general verdict was that I must be allergic to something that I’d touched with both hands. And given the fact that the only unusual things I’d touched with both hands this afternoon*** were the shovel and the broom…

Hey, I’m a writer. I need my hands. No more shoveling**** for me. I know my roommates will understand.

I’m simply allergic to winter. Nothing I can do.

*Text message discussion:
T: Ha! Yeah. Yankees stink and Ted Williams walks on water.
**More text message discussion:
T: GAGNE?! No! [Expletive]
***Don’t even go there. Do not go there.
****Without gloves. I’m not that inconsiderate, obviously!