Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I am not a fan of winter. Growing up in Southern Ohio, we did not have as bad of weather as our Northeastern brethren, but I still became accustom to snow days and snow tires, winterizing a boat, shoveling snow, limbs falling and landing on vehicles I owned, etc. And after doing some careful psychological and theological evaluation and meditation on the subject, I have come to a conclusion… Winter is like dating a high maintenance woman.

Now, I am a different and special breed of person. I am 28 and single, which used to terrify me when I was younger. I looked at people in their 30’s who were companionless and wondered what was wrong with them. But usually it was obvious – morbid obesity, lack of social skill or etiquette, halitosis or body odor struggles, and a myriad of other qualities that seemed to affect the single crowd around the age I am rapidly approaching. Now that I am entering that realm, I have to ask myself if one of the problems I described is applicable to me. I hope not, but I’ll be applying a little more deodorant and hitting the treadmill a little more just in case. My problem, however, seems to be how I evaluate the opposite sex due to the fact that I am terrified of the high maintenance female.

The diva, the princess, however you want to label them, we all have encountered them. The girl that won’t drink water from the tap because of all the germs, or won’t drink the cheap Ice Mountain or Great Value water because she prefers the “taste” of Fiji water. The woman that sends her food back at a restaurant because it doesn’t taste as good as it did the last time she was there. The girl who doesn’t like your friends, the girl who gets mad at you for watching sports, the girl who spends more money on hair, nails and makeup in a month than she does on rent. I have dated several girls like this, and it can be exhausting. They always seem to require more than what you can give, so you have to work that much harder to keep them. In the end, it never seems to be worth it. That is one reason I am still single, because I believe that every woman has a little spoiled princess in them, and I don’t want to have to deal with that.

Winter is like that high maintenance princess. You have to make do more for winter than any other month. First of all, I hate jackets. It’s an extra article of clothing you wear from your house to your car then from your car to your destination. Then, for the next however long you are there, you are stuck carrying this thing around – whether it be the mall, school, a restaurant, a friends house and other places where the jacket isn’t needed to maintain warmth. And I always forget it or forget where I leave it… It is just more of a hassle than not wearing one and being cold for a couple of minutes.

Not only that, but all the things you have to do to your car for winter. Snow tires. Constantly washing the salt off of the body so it won’t rust. Scraping the ice and snow off of the windshield. Shoveling the driveway so you can get out. Going 20 miles an hour slower than the speed limit so you don’t lose control from the ice in the road and be introduced to the side rail or the light pole. (I have knocked down a light pole before. Not pleasant.)

Then there’s your house. You gotta make sure the heat is working, the windows are sealed good enough, the roof doesn’t leak. You have to salt your steps so you don’t slip and break your tailbone, chop wood for the fireplace, make sure the water pipes don’t freeze and bust. So many different tasks and measures you have to do to yourself, your vehicle, and your residence just to get through a season you don’t really like in the first place. This is why winter frustrates me. You have to do so much, and be miserable the whole time your doing it because it’s so stinkin’ cold outside.

Looking deeper, however, winter doesn’t force us to do these things. We can ignore the menial tasks that are required and hopefully not have to deal with the consequences. We can choose not to salt the steps and risk the broken buttbone, we can drive as fast as we want on a patch of ice and hope that I’m not magically whisked into the exciting world of “oncoming traffic.” Winter reminds us year after year to learn from our mistakes from years past, areas where we were negligent, and prepare for this coming winter with those things in mind. And, in hindsight, I believe that’s a good thing for us to do as people. Look back at our past and see the areas we’ve messed up, see the times we have strayed from our purpose, remember the places where we lost faith and hope. Then, we must get ourselves ready when the opportunity arises for those situations to happen again. When we are prepared, those problems don’t effect us like they had before, and we are better for it.

And I guess high maintenance isn’t so bad either. I think that sometimes I can classify people as “high maintenance” just because they know what they want and aren’t willing to take second best. Some can obviously take it too far, but the determining factor should be if we are willing to sacrifice our comfort for someone else’s, especially the ones we love. Sometimes, people just want assurance that the person that they invest so much time and emotion into reciprocates the love that they feel inside. And sometimes that requires us as men to perform elaborate gestures to remind her how important she is to us. Even when it takes time out of our day or even if it requires us to change. That is one area I was never good at, but I feel like I’m getting better. And maybe if I embrace winter a little more, I will learn to appreciate the ones God has put in my life – especially the great girls I let slip through my fingers because I branded them “high maintenance” because I was too lazy and selfish to change my schedule for them.

It reminds me of my favorite scene in “The Breakup” with Vince Vaughn.

Johnny O: You know what? It's her fault she got hurt. You shouldn't even feel bad about it. She should have expected it from you. You're a fun guy, okay? Everybody likes you. You're the quickest guy I know. Anytime we go out, I have a blast. Alright? But, everybody who knows you knows you're gonna do what you want to do. And if it's not what the other person wants to do, well, that's their problem.

Gary: That's ********.

Johnny O: It's not ********.

Gary: There's plenty of times I do **** that I don't want to do. That's ridiculous. No.

Johnny O: Like when?

Gary: That's ******** to say about me.

Johnny O: When have we ever done something you didn't want to do?

Gary: You know, I don't know, off the top of my head. I don't keep score...

Johnny O: When's the last time we went to a Sox game? The Sox. Not when they're playing the Cubs, either. We always do what you want to do and she always did what you wanted to do. It's who you are. Everybody thinks that you're their friend, okay? But the fact of the matter is that there's not one person that I know that you trust enough to let close enough that they could hurt you. And her big problem is that you really liked her. I mean, she is the one girl you really liked. And no matter what she did and how hard she tried, you were never gonna let your guard down. That poor girl never stood a chance.

I’ve had a similar epiphany from a friend in Chattanooga. It was painful, but necessary in my development as a person.

So perhaps winter is more important than I originally thought, but I will still look forward to spring… even though it always rains in the spring, and there’s all that pollen that makes your allergies go nuts, and that pollen gets all over your car… you know, spring is a high maintenance woman too. You can’t have nothin’ nice.

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