Winter Wonderland or an Obstacle Course in New York City?

I’m a Texas boy – born and raised. In my 31 years in that great state I saw many weather events. I lived in tornado alley, experienced floods and hurricanes in Houston, and weathered an ice storm or two.

Never have I lived in a place where snow was not only something that happened, but something that blanketed my world in a beautiful sheet of white. Even the most run down parts of the city are made pure with these fresh blankets. The cold isn’t even that bad (or at least it hasn’t been yet).

My first exposure to snow was while at work. I work in a building that was once a mortgage bank in the twenties. It has since been remodeled to its former glory with fantastic glass windows that reach our 25’ tall ceilings. I was speaking with an employee and happened to look up and my heart stopped.

Snow. Big beautiful flakes of snow fluttering from the sky.

My obvious excitement plastered across my face paired with an outcry, “Look it’s snowing!” was met with a less than enthusiastic, “Yeah snow isn’t that cool. I grew up here.”

But I relished it. While I loved living in Texas, I had never been exposed to a land that experienced seasons.

While glorious, that snow was short lived, but a few weeks later I got my first glimpse of a snow day! Fortunately, I was off work, but was still recovering from being sick a couple days prior. I sat in the warmth of my living room basking in the glory of the delicate winter wonderland that enveloped the world around me.

A wonderland that quickly turned dark….and treacherous.

You see in most cases in Texas, particularly with snow and ice, it is a short lived experience. The next day life returns to normal, all is well with he world, and we have to go back to school, or work or whatever.

So then the next day happened. I awoke, still feeling weak from my illness, but ready to face the work day ahead. I had bundled up a bit more than usual due to the lower temperatures, and the fact that I would have to walk to the subway. I donned my favorite pair of light blue Banana Republic jeans, a few extra layers, laced up my freshly purchased snow boots, grabbed my bag and lunch box and waddled my way down the street with my usual podcast playing in my ear.

All was well.

Did you know that in New York City, snow lingers, not in its pure white form, but a disgusting muddy sludge that freezes?

Intellectually, everyone knows that water below freezing will in fact, freeze.

Shocking. Well my naivety went unscathed until I reached the subway.

Now it should come as no surprise that the subway is underground in NYC. You know that, I know that, everyone knows that. With the need to travel underground we are equipped with stairs. I had approached these stairs on my way to work and other places around time at least a couple hundred times since my move, but NEVER did it occur that these stairs that had led me to my preferred mode of transportation that I had grown to love and appreciate so much would betray me.

Betray me they did.

Imagine an unsuspecting, innocent Texan stepping on the first step only to have both of his legs swept out from under him, land on his (what he thought was a well padded butt) only to slide down and strike every single step with his moneymaker taking every single impact. There are 32 steps down to reach my subway, thankfully they are split in half by a landing so I only had the pleasure of getting to know 16 of them intimately.

My lunch box and hat went flying in opposite directions…

My headphones ripped from my ears….

It was excruciating, terrifying, and the entire trip down I imagined that this would be the end of the road for me.

Until my series of unfortunate events came to a halt with me laying in a cold puddle halfway down to my beloved 6 train.

I was once told that people in New York City are cold and do not care about the people around them. Not true – several rushed to my aid. As I stood fighting back the awkward laughing tears. I was asked,


“I’m fine.”

“Are you sure? You just fell down the stairs.”

“Yes, I know. Thank you. I’m fine.”

*insert laugh cry*

As I waddled back home, covered in mud, I contemplated not only my carelessness at the top of the stairs, but every decision I had made in life that got me to this point.

Every dorky thing I said in junior high – that was a nightmare…

Bad relationships – why DID we get that damn dog? #thebeginningoftheend…

My move to New York – filled with its admitted highs and lows that lead me to this terrible tumble…

The choice of those light blue jeans….sh#t….well that’s what I would come to find it looked like when I got home. There was even an imprint of the tread across the top of my butt where I impacted the final stair.

I took a taxi to work that day, and rode the bus home. I wasn’t man enough to face the stairs again. Since my move, I’ve been trying to find the lessons in life as things come my way.

Here is what I learned from this experience:

  1. Snow is not your friend as it melts, refreezes, and creates a treacherous obstacle course doing all it can to prevent your safe arrival to your destination.
  2. Snow boots are NOT slip proof.
  3. Respect the stairs.

And all kidding aside, they old saying rings true. When you fall down, all you can do is get back up….and change your pants.


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