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  • Writer's pictureGabriel Zacchai

Greetings From the NorthEast Icebox

Updated: Feb 13, 2021

Ever wonder what it's like in Maine in February? Probably not, right? Most people may have watched a Stephen King film before and been left to wonder about it while drifting off to sleep, but I doubt it ever crosses their minds in daily life. Well, the fact is: it pretty much sucks ass.

I'm a Mainer by birth. Born in Portland, Maine in 1972. I graduated high school in 1990 and ran like hell to California and Arizona as fast as my young thumb could carry me. That should clue you in to how much fun it is(n't) up here right now. It's bitterly cold (literally 1 degree this morning), windy AF, and compared to just about any urban place in America, there isn't JACK SHIT to do besides drink too much, yell at your kids for leaving dishes everywhere and sail a woodstove toward a warmer horizon called spring, which, in reality, isn't all that far away, but from the perspective of the heart of the Maine winter, seems like it may as well be on the far side of the fucking moon.

Oh! did I mention that it's 2020? Year of the great Covid 19 pandemic? The fact that this family of 4 has been on lockdown for the last 11 months adds a fun twist to a time of year that, under normal circumstances, would seriously challenge even the most hearty back to the land type to keep their shit together. But here we are.

Why the HELL would anybody choose to live here? That's a reasonable question. Well... about 6 or 7 months out of the year it's fairly spectacular if you've got the wherewithal to appreciate it. In fact: not a single year has gone by (at least in my current location of almost 9 years) that I haven't exclaimed, during the late summer or fall, while driving down the same old roads that I drive on every damn day: "Holy SHIT! I actually LIVE HERE." It's THAT beautiful. Mountains, Ocean, Lakes, Forests, Streams, wildlife, and other people who hold those things in high regard are enough to keep me gripping tight to what's left of my sanity in these cold, dark days of winter. Aesthetically it is every bit as fantastic as the brochure. And the abundant natural resources and lack of population density really put the cherry on the sundae. My wife and I chose to be here, to raise children here. Based on logical criteria that takes into account climate change, economic uncertainty and other such variables that the future might throw at all of us.

And you know what? sitting up here on the edge of America watching while "The Right" and "The Left" lose their grip on whatever used to pass for sanity... I feel like I made the right choice to be out here. When America gets really really dumb on both "sides" I do tend to put my feet up and crack a bourgeois-ass imperial IPA, listen to my neighbors get arrested on the police radio bands, and occasionally type words into a desktop computer that's still running a cracked version of windows 7 from 2008.

This is my place to be in this time. And aside from all the soul-crushing existential crisis that has become the daily norm in America of late, it's pretty darn almost somewhat OK.

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