Karma Boomerang



Illustration by Patrick Neil

As you read this, I hope Pittsburgh is in the early stages of colorful, cheerful bloom. I hope the grass is a bit more emerald green and less grayish green with every April day that passes. I hope the sun peeks through the storm clouds long enough to thaw your face. I hope you’ve packed up your snow pants and your hats and scarves and placed them high up on a shelf you won’t need to reach until November.

As you read this, I hope the mid-afternoon air holds a hint of warm promise. I hope the leaves are stretching, the tulips unfolding, the birds returning. I hope open-toed shoes are not completely out of the realm of possibility.

As I write this, I am picking splinters out of my backside, left there by the cruel, wooden sting of the justice-serving Karma Boomerang.

As I write this, winter is raging and whirling furiously around me, laughing hysterically at the column I wrote in November—the column in which I talked about how much I love winter and how much my mother hates it and how she gets all, “WHY, GOD, WHY?!” each February, and isn’t she so comical and [point and laugh].

As I write this, I am staring out of my living room window, peering into the driving, relentless curtain of snow that is waving outside. As I write this, I am banging my head on that window and pummeling it with double-fisted anger, railing against another 6 inches of snow falling on top of the 2 1/2 feet already on the ground, and I’m begging on high, “WHY, GOD, WHY?!”

As I write this, I have been snowbound with a 7-year-old and a 3-year-old for six days. In case you didn’t know, six days of being stuck at home will result in punchy children, metaphorically and literally. By day No. 3, they had taken to staging wrestling matches in the living room. By day No. 4, I’d watched enough SpongeBob SquarePants to know who won the battle of land creatures versus ocean creatures because I had watched that episode twice. By day No. 5, my toddler invented a fun game called “How Many Eggs Can I Throw in the Kitchen Before Mommy Finds Out?” The answer is three. Three eggs. By day No. 6, they were playing baseball in the house by throwing action figures into the air and slamming them against the walls with a plastic bat.

Karma. It really is a boomerang. Whatever you throw out there into the world, it will eventually whip back around and head straight for your backside. I made fun of my mother’s hatred of winter. I made fun of people who whine about the snow and the cold. I said, “Hey, this is Pittsburgh. We have weather here. Deal with it or move.”

I’m not saying I’m completely to blame for the winter of 2010. I’m saying I’m MOSTLY to blame for it. I threw the Karma Boomerang out into the cool, blue October sky, carrying words like “sissies” and “wuss” and “if you can’t take the cold, get out of the freezer.” The Karma Boomerang returned to me in February, through snowy, gray skies, carrying words like “boo-yah!” and “tsk” and “you really ought to know better, PittGirl.”

As I write this, the news is warning me that a real, live blizzard is heading my way and that it is scientifically a blizzard event because the winds will be strong enough to rip the mascara from my eyelashes. As I write this, my street is impassable, and I’ve been out of wine for two days, and I’m seriously thinking about dialing the city’s 311 line to see if they can rectify that emergency. “No, YOU don’t understand, sir. My children are playing hacky-sack with the dog, and I AM OUT OF WINE!”

As I write this, I am pledging to never again make fun of people who hate the Pittsburgh winters. I am pledging that the next time my mother calls me all, “I hate winter,” instead of telling her to put her big girl panties on, I will say, “Amen!” I am pledging to respect the ability of relentless snow to bring me to my knees.

As you read this, I hope the winter of 2010 is a distant, foggy memory frozen in the past. As you read this, I hope you forgive me for what I wrought with my careless handling of the Karma Boomerang.

As I write this, my son just rode his sled down the stairs.

What’s the number to 311?

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