Thursday, November 3, 2011

If Vincent Van Gogh was a Paperboy

"The Starry Night" by  Vincent Van Gogh - 1889

 Delivering newspapers at 40 degrees below zero (part 1)
 The temperatures here is Fairbanks are dipping into the negative numbers at night, which reminds me of last winter, when I delivered newspapers in the wee hours of the morning to support my art addiction (it’s an addiction like breathing air is an addiction).
The newspaper route was in a subdivision on the outskirts of Fairbanks, and I could either drive or walk the route. Driving took less time but walking saved gas, so I ended up walking most of the time—covering about five miles each night. (By walking my route I could also rationalize that I only worked one hour and exercised the other one to two hours it took to complete my route. That way my hourly wage seemed much higher.)
Even when the weather turned cold I preferred walking.  With extra layers of clothing on it was a real hassle getting in and out of the truck to deliver papers to porches, and I could never dress properly.  If I dressed for staying warm while out of the truck, I roasted inside the vehicle. Conversely, if I dressed light enough to be comfortable in the truck, I froze once I got out. If I just walked my route I could dress sensibly and stay comfortable.
In sub-zero weather I ended up wearing snow-sport goggles.  (They kept my sinuses warm so my nose didn’t drip constantly.)  And I don’t care what the companies say, there is no such thing as frost-free goggles. Every night my goggles were quickly glazed over with a thin coating of ice. This didn't interfere with my vision, just turned delivering papers into a surreal experience. Everything I looked at was overlaid with ice crystal patterns and all the lights acquired halos. It was like walking around in Van Gogh’s “Starry Night on the Rhone” or “The Starry Night” paintings.
I always listened to “Jazz with Bob Parlocha” (on local public radio station KUAC) while I delivered newspapers, and I figured there could be a lot worse things to do than walk around inside a post-impressionist painting while listening to jazz. So take that Old Man Winter—art  and music trump the cold!

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