Something Different: March Weather, Love And Relationship Wisdom From the Texaco Clerk

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“Should we talk about the weather?” – R.E.M., “Pop Song ’89”

As longtime readers know, we’re obsessed with rock n roll here at B&V but every now and then, to shamelessly steal from Monty Python, we have to say, “And Now For Something Completely Different.” Don’t get me wrong, there’s been some great songs released lately from Beck to Dave Matthews to Depeche Mode… but it’s time to step outside our lane for a moment…

I can’t believe it’s already March. Winter officially starts on December 21st (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere). And while I’m on record as not being a huge fan of the holidays, they are a great distraction from the awful winter weather. People actually wish for a “white Christmas.” Sigh. It doesn’t take long after Christmas when here at the house all the decorations and trees (yes, plural trees) come down and it’s like it never happened. The Rock Chick goes into her post Christmas, winter funk, staring out of the window and bemoaning the lack of sunshine. I wake up on January 1st, usually with a bourbon headache, and all I can see laid out in front of me is two months of dreaded Winter. It’s hard not to think of what the Stones sang,

“It sure been a hard, hard winterMy feet been draggin’ ‘cross the groundAnd I hope it’s gonna be a long, hot summerAnd a lotta love will be burnin’ bright.”

I keep a running tally in my head of the days left in the dreaded months of January and February. I start with 59 and start counting downward. I’ve always thought of March 1st as the finish line on the harshest part of winter. And so I trudge through the cold and damp snow thinking, only 47 more days… only 46 more days… I don’t know why I’m bitching, global warming has seen to it that winter hasn’t been that bad around here these days. I think it snowed twice and it was barely any accumulation. I certainly didn’t have to shovel anything this year.

But here it is March 3rd and it’s cold today. It was raining and we had gale force winds this morning. Two days ago it was 60 degrees. I saw people out walking their dogs in shorts. Seemed a little extreme to me… the wind is still cold but maybe my blood is still a little thin. Since it’s March I’ve obviously stopped my Winter Doomsday Countdown but I’ve started to think maybe I’m wrong to think March 1st is the finish line on the harshest part of winter. March is probably the most schizophrenic of the months. “In like a lion, out like a lamb” is the old saying. I can’t help about John Belushi on the original SNL and this skit:

In the old days, before the Rock Chick, my love life was almost as crazy as March weather. Who am I kidding, my whole life was like March weather. “One step up, one step back” as Springsteen sang. I remember the early 90s when I’d just completed the “moving back in with my parents” phase of my life – always a sure sign that things are going well. I was living in an apartment up on the bluffs overlooking the intersection of two Interstate highways. I’d lay in bed at night, in March no less, with the windows open and listen to the semi trucks rumbling by… that and the sound of trains running in the nighttime distance. I’d wonder where everybody was headed… I certainly didn’t seem to be heading anywhere in any kind of hurry.

I was selling medical supplies for a criminal outfit out of Chicago and had just gone through another messy split with a young lady I’d known in college. I was running late as was my habit in those days. It was early March, about the same time of year it is now, all these years later. There was a Texaco station down the main commercial street in my neighborhood. I had stopped there often. There was an older lady who worked there as a clerk. I had a long drive in front of me so I pulled in to gas up before I hit the road to ply my wares as a traveling salesman. The day prior it had been 70 degrees. I had jogged outside in shorts. This particular morning it was still sunny but it had turned cold and worse, windy.

I strolled into the store to grab some caffeine and pay the nice lady behind the counter who I found out was Chinese. My hair looked like I’d suffered an electrical shock and she was kind of looking up at my hair with a smile but just at the corners of her mouth. Feeling self conscious I said, “I thought it’d be warm and nice like it was yesterday…guess I was wrong,” as I pointed to my windblown locks and flashed her what I thought was my charming smile. Back then with all that hair the wind had blown every which way, my smile probably made me looked unhinged. Luckily I was wearing a suit and tie so she wasn’t worried I was there to rob the convenience store.

It was then that the Texaco clerk, the sweetest old woman in the world, laid some wisdom on me. Perhaps she could see that I needed a little wisdom that day to help me down the road. Heaven knows, I was in need of some wisdom in those days. She smiled at me and said, “March weather is like a woman’s heart, always changing and completely unpredictable.”

I don’t know why but it put a smile on my face. It not only helped me cope with the harsh March weather that day, it sort helped shock me out of my funk over the latest break up. And let’s face it people, men’s heart’s aren’t always that steady either… I live in a glass house, I’m not throwing any rocks.

If you’re out there and the crazy, ever-shifting March weather gives you fits, hopefully this bit of Texaco gas station wisdom will help get you over the hump. While it was cold and raining this morning, it’s now sunny and almost 50 degrees. Like many folks say, if you don’t like the weather here, wait an hour… If you suffer from the awful seasonal affect disorder, I hope this story puts a sunny smile on your face. And while, to paraphrase, people’s hearts are always changing and completely unpredictable there are some good hearts still out there… just keep on rumblin’ down the road. Summer will eventually make it here.

Cheers!

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4 thoughts on “Something Different: March Weather, Love And Relationship Wisdom From the Texaco Clerk

  1. It’s thanks to Bourbon & Vinyl that I got my old record player and old LPs out of the attic after 40 years. It is thanks to Kenneth that I now suffer less from the winter blues or the March Weather. Thanks K.

    Liked by 1 person

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