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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Snowpocalypse Forever

(Blind yourself with Secondhand SCIENCE. This week, we’re adding maths to the mix with some words on statistical significance.

Does compute, baby. Does compute.)

There’s a trick to spending the winter in Boston. It’s the same trick I imagine would be needed to spend a winter in Minneapolis, or Vancouver, or, say, the ice planet Hoth:

Park your car in a garage.

It took me several winters in Boston to learn this lesson, because I’m not all that bright. Also, I was busy shoveling snow during most of those winters, so I didn’t have a lot of free time for reflection. But eventually, slowly, I learned.

That’s half the battle.

The rest of the battle, presumably, is actually owning or renting a garage spot in which to park, and I haven’t exactly figured that part out yet.

(I suppose the other alternative would be to ditch the car. But that’s not exactly practical for people in my situation.

Like, honestly, what if you had to bring groceries home from the store on Hoth without a car? It’s not like they make hatchback tuantuans.)

That puts me in a bit of a pickle, automotively. I do have a parking spot — but it’s not in a garage; it’s in the great outdoors. By which I mean, it’s at the end of an overcrowded behind-a-brownstone parking lot accessed via a narrow snaking eighty-foot driveway across the street.

“I just want to park, and to not wind up like Jack Nicholson at the end of the Shining when I need to drive somewhere.”

So not “great outdoors” in the “Grand Canyon” or “Swiss Alps” sort of way. But it sure as hell ain’t a garage.

In the best of conditions, it’s not even much of a parking lot, what with all the vehicles crammed in together and the angled-parking angles jutting all willy nilly. What it is, after a blizzard, is a fantastic snow receptacle. You can store tons of the stuff in there. On top of cars. Between cars. All down the driveway. It’s fantastic, if you’re in the snow hoarding business.

And best of all, even if someone comes in to rob you, they can’t get any of that snow out without an industrial bulldozer. You could be the Scrooge McDuck of snow.

That’s not really my thing. I just want to park, and to not wind up like Jack Nicholson at the end of the Shining when I need to drive somewhere. Like South America. Where it’s warm.

This year, I’ve finally made progress. That parking spot of mine has had two feet of snow dumped on it in the last two weeks — and another foot coming this weekend, it’s rumored — but there’s one key difference between this season and the winters of back-breaking shoveling past: my car’s not in it.

You see, I’ve failed in fifteen Boston years to find a garage spot near where I live. But I have managed to weasel into a job that gives me a parking spot beneath a shopping mall three blocks from where I work.

I’m not saying that’s ideal, either. This is the life I’m working with, is all.

So whenever a new storm’s on the way — like yesterday — I leave my car at work, in the mall garage. Sometimes I walk three miles home, for the privilege. Sometimes, it’s a white-knuckle cab ride through the hordes of people desperately stocking up on bread and milk and non-edible sidewalk salt. But the best way through this Arcticifaction of New England — perhaps the only way, judging by the thousands of street-parked cars that haven’t been dug out in three weeks — is this remote-parking, garage-borrowing nonsense I’ve adopted.

Now. If I can just swap my sidewalk for some nice clean warehouse hallway. That would be sweet.

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Me on Film 'n' Stage:
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