I have this sudden desire to make French toast. It’s 3:18 AM Central Standard Time on February 9, 2011, and I ate dinner hours ago, and more recently I prepared myself a late-night snack. But enjoying a full stomach very early on a Wednesday morning doesn’t make me crave the French toast any less. What matters is it’s 10 degrees outside, and the wind is howling at 35 miles per hour, and it’s snowing heavily.

Since it’s snowing, that means I need French toast. And I need it now.

But there’s a problem. When I go to the store, there’s no bread on the shelves. There are no eggs. I do find a few cartons of milk, but they aren’t really milk but almond milk, Silk-brand Pure Almond Dark Chocolate Milk with ExtraAntioxidants.

Actually, I’m lying about the bread. There’s one lonely loaf left, dressed up in a shiny blue bag, with the alliterative name Blueberry Breakfast Bread. I doubt it would taste very good as part of a ham sandwich, but I suppose it would make decent French toast. But I don’t really want to make French toast. I was lying about that, too, because I’m in the minority. Apparently, when it snows, the only thing people in Oklahoma can think about is their precious French toast. Although when I wander over to the baking aisle, I see no one has bothered to snatch up all the vanilla extract. Maybe people around here don’t make French toast with vanilla extract. They probably chicken fry it. (Actually my mom used to make French toast this way, by breading it. The first time I ever saw the more accepted recipe I had no idea what the hell it was.)

Anyway I do pick up plenty of other grocery items, like a ribeye steak and a package of chicken breasts and some ground turkey. In fact the entire meat section is fully stocked. Apparently no one feels like consuming protein when it’s cold outside. Just comforting, insulating carbs to help them stay warm inside their climate-controlled homes. I also grab some Yukon Gold potatoes, which are all that’s left of the potatoes, even though Yukon Golds taste better than the others. I always wondered why the store shelves the better-tasting potatoes over here in the corner and places the bland, bestselling Russets out front where everyone can find them. I suppose Russet pays a premium for those high traffic areas.

While I’m in line to pay for my precious groceries, some guy with an earnest voice gets on the PA system and announces that a batch of fresh French bread is now available in the bakery. No less than ten people sacrifice their places in line upon hearing the news. I can’t help but picture them at some later time, standing in their kitchens, slicing these loaves into little pieces, struggling with full-size lunch meats, frustrated at their incongruous sandwiches, at the injustice of it all.

What’s really funny is next door to the grocery store is a bakery. I pass this bakery on the way to the liquor store. When I go inside, the bakery is so full of bread you would think the loaves were self-replicating. They have every kind of bread you can imagine in there. I don’t understand why they don’t put some guy outside with a megaphone yelling, “FORGET ABOUT THE BLUEBERRY BREAKFAST BREAD. WE’RE SELLING REAL BREAD WE BAKED JUST NOW, YOU MYOPIC FOOLS.” On the other hand, the bakery doesn’t have very good signage. I didn’t know it was here until six months ago, and I’ve lived nearby for almost eleven years.

Some of you are already aware that I made this trip to the grocery store on foot. The reason for this is because unlike a lot of these idiots, I live in a neighborhood with curvy streets and steep hills. When it snows a lot, or when there’s ice, I literally cannot drive up my street. Which is fine by me. When storms approach, I buy plenty of groceries in advance and plan to be stranded. I pretend like I’m camping. It’s fun. In fact the only reason I walked to the store at all is because I was bored, and because I wanted to eat a steak and enjoy a few cocktails while I watched the Super Bowl. But that doesn’t stop people, when they realize I’m walking to the store, from making brilliant comments like “I bet you wish you had a four-wheel drive truck right now!”

I get cabin fever like anyone does. Of course I do. But just because I’m cooped up in my house for a week doesn’t mean I wish I had leased a different vehicle for 36 months. 36 months equals 1,095 days, unless one of them is a leap month, in which case it equals 1096 days. I’m stranded at my house because of the weather for maybe ten of those days. That’s less than one percent of the time. I have nothing against SUVs and pickup trucks (that’s not true, I hate them), and I don’t mind if someone else wants to own one, but why on earth would I? I see these guys proudly driving around in their boxes on wheels, and for a moment I believe I’m telepathic, because I can actually hear their thoughts. You know what they’re thinking? They’re thinking, “Look at me! Today I put the truck in four-wheel drive! I’m a badass!”

But you know what? I can’t really make fun of that. The reason I can’t is because my car gets about the same gas mileage as a pickup or an SUV. Honestly I should be ashamed of myself. Whether or not the typical owner makes use of it, a pickup at least possesses the potential for utility. My car can make no such claim. In order to build a V6 engine with more than 300 horsepower, some concessions must be made, including fuel economy. But fuck it. I need that power. My car can hit nearly 160 mph, and that’s something I do on a daily basis: drive 100 mph over the speed limit. Why on earth would I go anywhere if I couldn’t do it at 160 miles per hour?

I could summarize this by declaring that people behave strangely. But that really isn’t true. What’s true is people behave differently than you expect them to or want them to. You think it’s silly that some people stock up on bread and milk and eggs before a big snowstorm, but they think you’re stupid for living in a hilly neighborhood when you don’t own a four-wheel drive vehicle. You think they’re wrong for living in an old, drafty house cursed with exposed pipes that freeze every time it gets cold, and they think you’re soulless because you live in a new house that possesses no character. You think they should dress with more style. They think you’re a hipster doofus.

Personally, I think everyone but me and maybe six other people in the world are idiots. But don’t be too angry with me. As I write this, it’s 4:12 in the morning, the wind chill is 15 below zero, and I’m about to go for a walk. My sister and I did this one time as kids, wandered around our snowy neighborhood in the wee hours of the morning, and now it’s like programming code I can’t erase. I do it every time there’s a big snowstorm. It doesn’t make any sense.

But honestly, what does?

Addendum: 5:53 AM. Just returned from walk. More than two inches of new snow since I left. Chanda, you should’ve been there. <3

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RICHARD COX is the author of The Boys of Summer, Thomas World, The God Particle, and Rift. He can be reached on Facebook or at his personal web site, www.richardcox.net.

122 responses to “The French Toast Shortage of 2011”

  1. First! Woot! Now I can say you’re a little luchador tart where everyone will see! (Please don’t kill me.)

    This was so much fun to read: the way you’ll say one thing and then admit you’re lying or go one direction and then undo it. It’s like a little tango with yourself. In the snow. Off to make myself some French toast ….

  2. Tawni Freeland says:

    We have been out of eggs for a week and I have a little boy who drinks milk, so I went to the grocery store yesterday for those two items. The shelves were completely picked over… still. I couldn’t believe it. Empty gaps everywhere! I also bought a bag of onions and a bag of Yukon Gold potatoes. I had trouble finding them because, as you wrote above, the boring Russets get all the product placement love. Yukon Gold potatoes taste one million times better, so I don’t get it either. They’re the only kind we buy anymore.

    STORM BREAD. Must. Buy. Storm Bread. So bizarre. If I need bread, I figure I can bake bread, so I don’t experience the Bread Panic we have been witnessing here. I think people forget how easy it is to bake bread if they so desperately need it. The snowstorm breadlust is a fascinating phenomenon; I’m so glad you wrote about it. I have noticed that I’ve wanted to cook and bake whilst trapped in my home this last week, but I think that’s more of a boredom thing. Also, it makes the house smell good. As long as we’re trapped inside of it, it might as well smell good, right?

    My Toyota 4Runner was totaled when the douche rear-ended me at the stoplight this summer. But despite the fact that the height of our former SUV would have enabled us to not get high-centered and stuck in the snow last week, I still don’t regret replacing it with the more fuel efficient Toyota Camry. We began saving money on gasoline immediately. This weather is not typical for our region, so it really seems like a waste to drive a big gas guzzler all year on the chance that we will see another record-breaking snowfall for a few weeks. For this reason, “Look at me! Today I put the truck in four-wheel drive! I’m a badass!” made me laugh. (Another pet peeve: the moms at my son’s school who drive gigantic SUVs they absolutely cannot maneuver, and have probably never seen the back of, nor driven as intended. They block two parking spaces and nearly sideswipe me trying to back out. Spectacular dumbassery.)

    I also bought a giant bottle of vanilla extract at the store. Not for French toast, but because I have recently discoved the joys of snow ice cream, and I am firmly on Team Vanilla. It’s a pretty pathetic image, me trapped inside my house, sadly eating vanilla-flavored snow, but you know. It’s making me hate winter a tiny bit less. And that’s hard to do.

    Happy French Toast Snowpocalypse 2011, Richard! (:

    P.S. Nice tags. Hahaha.

    • Gloria says:

      My ex-stepdad is an over the road truck driver and he’s been grounded (in Guthrie) because of the snow for a week. They just can’t get food on the shelves because they can’t get to the food.

      Here’s to you not going all Donner Party on your family, Tawni! To the sanity saving snow ice cream!

      • Tawni Freeland says:

        I must confess that I just crammed as much fresh snow as I could into Tupperware containers (and put them in the freezer) so I can have snow ice cream next week after it melts outside. I am powerless over my addiction to the white stuff. How the mighty have fallen, Gloria. I am a sick, sick woman. I hope I’m not eating too many pollutants and gross things in the snow. I’ll probably end up with worms or something.

        Yay! Donner Party joke! Last week, we were heading out to drive the roads for the first time since the big storm, and I was gathering up snow boots, extra gloves, hats, water, and food supplies for the car (I’m a mom, it’s what I do), and my husband mockingly told me, “Relax, honey. It’s not like our last name is Donner.” Hahaha. Because people eating people is always comedy gold, right?

        And now, “People… people who eat people… are the LUCKIEST people… in the WORRRRRLD!” to the tune of that Barbra Streisand song is in my head. Awesome.

    • Richard Cox says:

      Storm Bread. Hahaha. Which made it all the more surprising that the bakery wasn’t picked over, too. I guess that’s a good demonstration of what marketing can do for you. And also, people are like lemmings and they just follow each other around blindly. And further also, yes, I know the real truth about lemmings. It’s a freakin’ metaphor.

      Oh, I forgot to put something in the post. Did you hear the rumor about how meteorologists knew this storm would be worse than the last one, but that the National Weather Service wasn’t telling anyone because they didn’t want to create a public panic? I heard that story from two separate people, who also claimed to have heard it twice yesterday. Now THAT is a fast-traveling meme. Snow conspiracies!!

      I even made a bet with someone about the snow yesterday, and I felt bad, because the forecasting models are published on the Internet for anyone to look at. I mean you have to know what you’re looking for, but they’re publicly available. Of course that doesn’t mean “they” aren’t publishing fake models!! #weathergeek

      Did I use the hash tag correctly?

      • Tawni Freeland says:

        Snowspiracies!! YES. But the Mayan snow temple/table in our backyard with which I gauge inches of snowfall (it’s offishull, dammit) says we’ve gotten a little under a foot of snow, which is less than the last one. This storm is not as bad as the last. Silly snowspiracists! Weather reportin’ is for meteorologists!

        So I guess you won that bet, weather geek? (Nice hash tagging.) Did you win a loaf of precious Storm Bread?

        Dude. I wouldn’t have pointed out the lemming metaphor inconsistency. It’s annoying when people point out things like that when you’re just trying to make a point, and they should know it.

        “Lemmings don’t really follow each other blindly, you know.”

        “Okay! Here’s a dollar… go buy a sense of humor.”

        “Ummmm… you didn’t actually hand me a dollar, and you can’t really buy a sense of humor. And lemmings don’t really follow each other… did you hear me say that part?”

        “THEN JUST SHUT UP.”

        • Richard Cox says:

          Although there was more than 20″ a few miles north and east of here. So if the storm had shifted even slightly, that could have been us.

          The bet outcome was closer than I expected.

          THEN JUST SHUT UP. Hahahahaha.

  3. Tawni Freeland says:

    Sweet. My comment is nearly half the size of what you’ve written above, Richard. TrappedinherhousegirlsaysWHAT?

  4. Becky Palapala says:

    I bet blueberry bread is delicious.

    I’m imagining it tastes like blueberry muffins.

    I bet it is 10X better than regular bread, even bakery bread.

    People are so stupid. They took even gross wheat-bread-with-crunchy-shit-in-it before they took the blueberry bread.

    Of course, the difference is that when they think I’m stupid, they’re wrong.

    I mean, they’re idiots. The nature of idiocy consists in large part of being wrong. You couldn’t very well have an idiot who was right all the time.

    Unless you’re Shakespeare, but that’s different. Those idiots are storytelling mechanisms, not actual idiots.

    In summary: I hate everybody and I want a blueberry muffin.

    • Richard Cox says:

      You’re clearly right about everything because you’re suffering through nicotine withdrawal. And because you understand Shakespeare. I think only you and maybe six other people do.

      I wonder what the Blueberry Breakfast Bread tastes like when you’re having it with Chocolate Almond milk? Mmm…

      • Becky Palapala says:

        You’re clearly right about everything

        Is all I heard.

        It’s this kind of clear thinking that makes you so likable, Richard.

  5. Yvonne says:

    I just had to write and tell you that the French Toast phenomenon is not unique to you Snowklahomans. Here, too, in Kentucky, where we experience very little of the white stuff, and where a sprinkling of it will close down schools for days, we find the same strange behavior at the grocery. What I REALLY hate is when I have to go to the store on the eve of destruction because I’m LEGITIMATELY OUT OF BREAD, and my kid needs lunch sandwiches! I feel like such an ass then. I feel the need to proclaim my innocence and superiority to everyone in line – “I REALLY WAS OUT OF BREAD, I SWEAR! I have NOT fallen victim to the same dufus behavior as the rest of you pod people!” I don’t think they believe me.

    • Richard Cox says:

      “I feel the need to proclaim my innocence and superiority to everyone in line – “I REALLY WAS OUT OF BREAD, I SWEAR!”

      Right? This is the same thing I think when something I always use goes on sale, and suddenly it disappears from the shelf. I get all uppity and say to myself, Who cares if it’s twenty cents cheaper today? Leave my special grocery item alone! I’ll pay the extra twenty cents you blithering idiots!!!

      Sadly, no one hears my thoughts. At least I don’t think they do…

  6. Amber says:

    I hate that I can’t go home right now and make French toast. Damn.

  7. Ashley Menchaca (N.O.Lady) says:

    First of all, I need to just put it out there, I make the best french toast in the world. So there.

    Secondly, just reading about the snow issues and being stuck indoors has caused a mild anxiety attack. I couldn’t imagine! No wonder you guys can get through so many books!

    Around here, our priorities are all fucked up. We get word a hurricane may be coming this way, we stock up on booze and start planning a hurricane party. Battieris, food? Fuck that! Let’s get wasted! Ahhhhh, New Orleans, mon amour.

    Oh. My. GOD! I didn’t know you were a car guy!! Now we have something more to talk about!! I’m totally a grease monkey and if it wasn’t for my responsible mommy thing, I’d still be driving my gas guzzling ’89 Mustang GT 5.0. I loved that car. Just sitting at an idle at a red light would vibrate the car next to me and set off alarms. Nothing like it…

    • Richard Cox says:

      Care to share your recipe?

      We have plenty of people who get liquored up here when it snows. But you don’t hear about that on TV because we’re not supposed to talk about it. The liquor store was somewhat picked over, as well, but nothing like the grocery store.

      My buddy had an ’88 Mustang GT 5.0 and the first time I drove it I almost missed the street because it shot out of the parking lot like a missile. It’s funny how the sound of the exhaust is so awesome. Someone mentioned around here recently that there’s a study that shows how women get turned on when they hear the sound of an engine being revved. Which clearly is important in the grand scheme of life, right?

      • Ashley Menchaca (N.O.Lady) says:

        Recipe? Nope.
        I spit in it. lol.

        Our news people cover the hurricane parties on Bourbon.
        Just the way it is down here.

        That’s whats so great about the 302. Not much needs to be done to wake the beast within. Mine was a convertible (weighs more) so I did a few things to increase the horsepower to make up for the weight difference.

        And you’re right about engine sounds. But, I’m a car chick…

        • Erika Rae says:

          Ashley, when I first read your comment (I was reading quickly) I thought you had said your recipe includes bourbon, which made my heart skip with glee. My French toast recipe involves rum. Or brandy. A couple douses from whatever bottle of beer happens to be open from the night before. OK, maybe not the last. But bourbon would be all right. Yes.

          It’s cold up here. Was -25 the night before last again. A foot of fresh snow yesterday. My house is single paned windows with exposed pipes that freeze constantly. Also, I drive an SUV. I am the kind of person Richrob loves (hahahaha). I live 30 minutes by car from the nearest grocery store. Difference between me and you Richard is that when it dumps a foot or more here, I can drive all the way to Tulsa and bring YOU some bread. HA! ( :

        • Erika Rae says:

          …albeit it slooooowly.

        • Richard Cox says:

          Hahaha. Yes, Erika Rae, you are the kind of person I hate. Of course. I’m glad you finally figured this out.

          Hey, it was -31 in Nowata, OK last night. That’s like 40 miles away. It was -12 here.

          It’s just like Colorado! See!!??!

          P.S. And it snowed 27″ in 24 hours up there, too.

  8. J.M. Blaine says:

    Just as I read the words
    Silk-brand Pure Almond Dark Chocolate Milk
    I was bringing the cup
    to my lips
    Silk-brand Pure Almond Dark Chocolate Milk.

    does this sort of thing

    life is details.

  9. My old friends and I used to love wandering around in blizzards, pretending that the world had ended and we were its lone survivors. This reminds I need to get out in the cold more often. Whether I need anything or not.

    Also, it seems appropriate here to mention that the actual French word for French toast is pain perdu: lost bread. See, it’s been so all along.

    • Richard Cox says:

      Yeah, it does feel like you’re the last person alive on Earth. The snow mutes sounds and you feel like there’s just nothing else out there. That’s cool.

      Thanks for the French translation. That’s perfect. Ha.

  10. Gloria says:

    Richard, this sentence and this image are so delightfully sarcastic: “I can’t help but picture them at some later time, standing in their kitchens, slicing these loaves into little pieces, struggling with full-size lunch meats, frustrated at their incongruous sandwiches, at the injustice of it all.” Hilarious.

    I also laughed really hard about you going 160 miles per hour on a daily basis. At least…I hope you’re kidding…

    I’ll pretend like I’m on of the six.

    Your tags, too, are fucking hilarious. Nice shout out to your sister.

    Richard, it should snow more often. It affects you in just the best way.

    (Also, we’ve been through this before, but I’m pretty sure you’re using “hipster” wrong. But we don’t have to rehash that conversation.)

  11. Dana says:

    Richard, I feel like I should know why you’re talking about luchadores, but can’t remember why. However, on a related note, I just saw this shirt and feel like you should have one made.


    Gloria, I think Oklahoma hipster and Oregon hipster are probably worlds apart. 😉

    I would like to offer up that if anyone ever needs bread, they can come to my house. There is almost always a loaf of bread just on the verge (although preservatives these days – bread lasts forever!) of going moldy, usually with just one slice missing. That said, I understand the NEED for bread when weather doom is impending. When I was about 10 (and living in the thumb of Michigan) there was a huge snow and ice event. We didn’t have power for 10 days. 10 DAYS. In Michigan. Jesus.

    And I loved to read. And was TEN. So there was tunnel building and sledding and snowball fights and friends and ice skating… I felt like Laura Ingalls, but less prepared.
    I can’t even imagine how painful those ten days must have been for my parents. Any cooking we did was over the fireplace. And when we were in the house, we had to be huddled in front of the fireplace.
    I really have no recollection what we ate, but I bet there were a whole lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. What I really remember is how disgusting my hair looked.

    Wow. Bit of a digression there. Sorry about that! But my point is, that if power goes out, bread is good to have. Especially if you have kids.

    Anyway, you made me laugh and I hope you availed yourself of some delicious baked goods.

    Also, I bet your hair looks good.

    • Richard Cox says:

      Dana, somewhere I have a picture of some hamburger buns that I forgot about in the dark reaches of my pantry, and when I finally saw them they had turned the coolest shade of pale green. That was maybe ten years ago, though. These days bread probably never molds. Just like milk doesn’t go bad anymore, right? Or McDonald’s french fries.

      That’s a great story about when you were ten. I don’t think I’d be too excited to lose power for that long. It happened in Tulsa here a few years ago, like 80 percent of the city was out of power for a week, though my neighborhood was luckily spared. Cooking in the fireplace sounds fun as long as you aren’t forced to do it. I have a gas range which would work even if the power went out. But I’m running low on firewood. Brrr.

      I dunno about my hair. It’s buried under the wool cap. I haven’t seen it in days. Or maybe months.

  12. Reno Romero says:


    My heart goes out to you. As I write my balls are basking in sunny desert weather. T-shirt. Shorts. Chuck Taylors. And the Food Network showing all kinds of delicious food. Sorry. I figure right now you’re cold, pissed, and wished you have a GIANT 4-wheel drive…

    But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in all my years visiting OK is that their people (yeah, Cox, this means you) are some tough motherfuckers. Sure, a whole slew of them wanting sissy French toast is to the contrary, but maybe the snow does weird things to folk. It’s possible. I wouldn’t know. For like I mentioned I’m existing in warm weather, a slight breeze coming up from L.A.

    I enjoy your observations, Mr. Cox. I love the whole “I’m lying” bit. Wait is it actually snowing or are you bullshitting about that one too?

    • Richard Cox says:

      Mr. Romero,

      Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts. I don’t mind the snow, though. We broke all kinds of records this year, like the most snow in a single winter, most in a single month, most on a single day, etc., and records have been kept here for 111 years. So that’s pretty cool for a weather geek like me.

      There are lots of lies in this post but not about the snow. It’s real. As much as anything is real.

      Which ain’t saying much when you really think about it.

  13. TammyAlen says:

    I love how you accept and embrace the snow and the joy of walking alone in it. As a contrast my favorite thing to do is walk along the CA shore on the coldest day of the year. Not as extreme but I’m usually the only one there.

    Here’s an idiot comment someone said to me: “So what if they make guns that shoot 31 rounds they make cars that go as fast as 160mph and those kill people too.”

    Great post about the utter quirkiness of people. So different so alike.


    • Richard Cox says:

      Thanks, Tammy. The solitude can be wonderful, no? I don’t want to be the last person on Earth but sometimes it’s fun to imagine it anyway, right?

      People are strange. Jim Morrison told me so.

  14. Ronlyn Domingue says:

    Before Hurricane Katrina, I used to give grudging attention to grocery shopping when a storm approached. Now, I make sure we have plenty of water and enough non-perishable food to last a few days.

    Thanks to the gas stove–which God forbid a tree would fall over and uproot the main line–we at least can cook and make coffee when the power goes out.

    • Richard Cox says:

      All it takes is one really bad disaster to change behavior. I lost a short story once, many years ago, from an old Brother Word Processor. Floppy disk went bad. After that, I became obsessed with backing up my work.

      The gas stove is great, no? I’ve got one as well, although I remember the pictures and yours is far superior. 🙂 Though I suppose we need some matches or a lighter to get it going if the power runs out. I assume the ignitions are electrical.

      • Ronlyn Domingue says:

        I almost lost my master’s thesis on a dinosaur computer, so I know of what you speak. I have electronic AND paper backups of everything now.

        Yeah, we need matches to light when the electricity goes out. (If you’re thinking of changing models, I have to admit, I wouldn’t get mine again. Overall, it’s fine, but there are some annoying kinks.)

  15. Matt says:

    You know what? I’ve never actually seen it snow. I’ve seen the snow, of course, but never in the act of falling from the sky. Bet that would seem really strange. In the meanwhile I think I’ll go join Reno in enjoying this nice, 75-degrees and sunny weather we’ve been having. Need to get an early start on my tan for this summer, anyways.

    I only ever crave French toast when I’m drunk. Were you drinking, Richard?

    • Richard Cox says:

      I think I remember you mentioning that before, about not seeing snow. It’s cool, for sure, unless you’re Tawni and you hate it.

      Being fascinated with weather, I like to see it in extreme. I heard about a town on the upslope of the Rockies that once had a storm where it snowed a foot an hour. I would love to see what that looks like.

      I always crave French toast. I wasn’t drinking, no. But I crave it more if I’ve been drinking, for sure.

  16. Amanda says:

    “Struggling with full-sized lunch meats”! One of the perils of a poorly charted grocery list.

  17. Lorna says:

    I sort of wish I was stranded by a snow storm. Maybe I’d get caught up on all the books that I have stacked up on my “to read” list. Are you still snowed in? Cabin fever. Not fun.

    That bakery guy needs some signage. Or good PA system.

    • Richard Cox says:

      Yeah, we just got a new batch of snow last night so I’ll be stuck here for a few days at least. But it’s supposed to warm significantly this weekend, so maybe I’ll be out by then.

      Didn’t you guys get some snow this year? Does that happen every year?

      • Lorna says:

        Yes, we did get some snow this year but only in the higher elevation of town and it melted right away. It doesn’t snow every year, but seems to be happening quite frequently the past three or four years. This year has been freaky weird weather wise. Except for a few weeks of cold snap, which killed my aloe vera plant and possibly my palm tree, it has been an extremely warm winter. T-shirt weather. We’ve lived here 18-19 years and I’ve never seen anything like the warm winter we’re having this year. If only there were a beach nearby, it’d be like heaven on earth.

        • Richard Cox says:

          Lorna, we had the same kind of winter here. Warm and dry, at least until two weeks ago. And now we’ve set our all-time winter snowfall record. The La Nina weather pattern should lend itself to warmer and dryer winters in this part of the country, and it did. This two-week stretch statistically is nothing more than an outlier. It just happens to be lying out there really far. Hahaha.

  18. Irene Zion says:

    It’s SO good to see your handsome face again, Richard Cox.
    That last gravitar gave me nightmares!

    People here in Miami Beach do the same thing with hurricanes.
    They run out and fill up their cars with all manner of things that they wouldn’t ordinarily buy.
    There’s a certain end of the world is upon us feeling, I think.
    I do the same thing.
    I might buy a 20 pound bag of rice and Victor doesn’t even eat carbs.
    (When I do that, I sort of hide it in the back of the cabinet so he doesn’t see it right away.
    The last time he found a 20 pounder he gave it to the cleaning lady.
    I was bereft. I really needed that 20 pounds of rice to feel safe!)
    It think it’s in the air.

    • Richard Cox says:

      Yes, Irene. I think people to a large degree enjoy these events. We’re wired to expect dangers and threats and to take measures to protect ourselves. A life without threats is comfortable but ultimately boring. Which is why we like conflict in stories, or invent conflicts with our spouses and make the day more interesting by having a fight. It’s why I like roller coasters and storm chasing and driving really fast.

      Like, people complain about having to drive through the snow to get to work, but when they get there it’s all they can talk about. Everyone feels the desire to share their personal experience about the obstacles they overcame to make it to work. We one-up each other, out-complain each other, etc. We pretend to hate it but really we love it. Because to really feel alive we need some threat of not being alive, or at least a struggle.

      All that being said, your needing a 20 pound bag of rice to feel safe makes me laugh. Security tied to a bag of dry rice. Hahahaha.

      • Irene Zion says:

        Among other things, Ricardo, I also don’t feel safe unless I have a brick of Charmin Toilet Paper from Costco, still wrapped in it’s plastic coating, in reserve in the closet.

  19. D.R. Haney says:

    I would go for a walk on a snowy night, too, if I experienced snowy nights, and I wouldn’t care about the temperature, and I would make that walk every time it snowed. I’m a sucker for atmosphere, and snow definitely makes for superlative atmosphere, as do neon signs. What I wouldn’t give to see snow and neon signs in combination right now — in life, I mean, as opposed to a Google image search.

    Unfortunately, I’ve said nothing here that would have me qualify as one of your six. Not that I would qualify anyway.

    • Richard Cox says:

      I wondered if anyone would ask me who the six are. And when I write it like that it makes me think of the humanoid Cylons in Battlestar Galactica. Or maybe a secret council of six Illumanti members that control the world’s money supply. Haha. In any case you’re one of the smartest dudes I know, Duke.

      I’m trying to think of the closest neon sign to my house, a place where I could walk next time. If there is a next time.

      The atmosphere last night was great. As long as you’re dressed properly, it’s both calming and exhilarating. The ambient light of streetlamps is diffused by the snow, creating this ghostly yellow glow. It’s not dark at all, as evidenced by the picture at the end of post. Sounds are deadened, obviously. But also, when it’s snowing an inch or two per hour, and the wind is whipping it around, it’s almost like the very air has substance to it, like you can’t help but inhale the snow.

      Those night walks are my favorite thing about snowstorms. Visiting the grocery store, not so much.

  20. Joe Daly says:

    Good Lord, Coxy, it was about halfway through this post that I realized that it was destined to end with “all work and no play make Coxy a dull boy” typed thousands of times back to back.

    Blizzards sure have a way of stirring up both sides of the spectrum, eh? The hectic, “Gotta Stock Up!” mania that hits you when you see that the weather people were actually correct, followed by the pensive, “The World Is So Peaceful When It Snows” buzz you get when you realize how peaceful the world is when it snows.

    I haven’t been in a blizzard in six years, one month, and three days. Thanks for the memories. I sort of miss it in a weird way.

    • Richard Cox says:

      You know how many times I’ve stopped walking in the snow and tried to retrace my steps walking backwards, a la Danny Torrance in The Shining? Dude. That’s not as easy as it looks, especially when your crazy dad is chasing after you with an ax.

      I guess if you want to see a blizzard you can just drive into the mountains one weekend, right?

  21. Jude says:

    Craving French Toast at 3.18 in the morning? And needing it now? Are you pregnant RichardCox?

  22. Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

    This is awesome. My mom totally had a bomb shelter of canned food in our basement in Jersey when I was growing up. People would go crazy and buy all the bottled water every time the snow came down. It always seemed ridiculous. It’s the fucking suburbs, ya know? There is nothing to get hysterical about here.

    • Richard Cox says:

      Bottled water, eh? They thought the water system was going to fail? I guess the pipes would all freeze?

      You might not get bombed in the suburbs but it does snow out there, right? Hahaha.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      But it’s snow. Isn’t that just frozen water?

      I mean, I guess you couldn’t really bathe in it or anything, but could you do that with bottled water, either?

      • Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

        I think when people resign themselves to danger-free suburban living they have to indulge their contrived Joseph Campbell persona in the face of “natural disaster”… As a kid I was like: Get real. I couldn’t wait to move to California. Has their ever in televised history been a report of a Jersey housewife rescuing the sick and wounded with preservatives in the face of a little inconvenient weather?

  23. Zara Potts says:

    Dear Snowy Little Prince,
    You know what? I really enjoyed this. It’s a lovely stream of consciousness that reads so well and fluidly that I can hear you say each word.

    It feels like a ‘cabin fever’ kind of piece – The combination of claustrophobia thinking and internal monologue really do justice to your situation. You nailed the way we think. I do like your insights, you write about deceptively simple concepts that are familiar to anyone whether they live in an igloo or at the beach – but somehow, they’re not apparent until you read the words and go: “Oh, yeah – that’s what I think too.” This is a real talent -to be able to expose the common threads we all share in a way that reveals our own thoughts to ourselves.

    And then you end it with a lovely memory that melts us like sun on snow.

    Very, very nice. Thank you.

    P.S what the jinkers is chicken fried french toast??

    • Richard Cox says:

      Thank you for the kind words, ZaraPotts. You never really know when you write humor whether or not anyone will identify with the observations. Or at least I don’t. Slade probably does.

      But what if I told you I think like this all the time? What if it’s not cabin fever? Does that make me nuts?

      Chicken fried French toast is slices of bread breaded with flour and egg. Then you pour syrup all over it!

  24. Matt says:

    I woke up with the (now-fulfilled) craving for French toast today. I blame you for this. Get out of my head, Coxy.

  25. Slade Ham says:

    I have never actually seen snow (that’s not really true, there have been isolated flurries in TX and I did ONE time in Colorado). But, in 34 years though twenty-two countries, I have only been in real snow that one time. And even that time was only on the morning drive to the airport. I am a fully functional snow defense system. I have literally chased it out of several places where it was due to fall and did not because I showed up.

    Also, I really want French toast now (actually that’s not really true either. I want pancakes. Or a waffle. A waffle would rock.)

    • Richard Cox says:

      How is it you’ve traveled everywhere and not seen snow? Do you avoid the cold weather places on purpose?

      I mean this is your career we’re talking about. You have to be willing to go anywhere, you hoser.

  26. I have never in my life eaten French Toast. And I’ve been to France maybe 15 times.

    I’ve enjoyed this past winter partly because I’ve not had to deal with shitty weather. It snowed for an hour or two a couple of weeks ago, but that’s it. The sun came out after and melted it all away. It’s been Chinese New Year here, though, and so the shops have been closed and the ones that are open only sell the crap they couldn’t sell before deliveries ceased.

  27. Erika Rae says:

    …and you thought I was going to skip this one, didn’t you?

  28. Ashley Menchaca (N.O.Lady) says:

    All this french toast talk had me craving it!
    I made some around 9:30 last night (and bacon) and sat down to watch ROCKY for the millionth time while I ate. I’m such a guy sometimes.

    • Richard Cox says:

      Ha. I finally had some, too. With bacon and scrambled eggs. It was only the best breakfast for dinner in the world.

      Rocky is such a great film. And I’m a Rocky II die hard as well. I’d like to get them on Blu Ray but why the hell do they make me buy all fifteen of them? I don’t want those other ones. Although it can be fun to occasionally listen to Mr. T growl like an animal or watch Rocky train in Siberia, it’s not enough fun to actually buy them.

  29. Great story, great picture!

    Should I be embarrassed to admit that I love that chocolate almond milk?!

  30. sheree says:

    Button up tight!
    Great post. Thanks for the read.

  31. Simon Smithson says:


    I’m in on the six, right? The non-idiot six?

  32. Irene Zion says:


    Just so you know, you haven’t tasted french toast until you’ve had it on home made Challah.
    You’re going to the wrong coast!
    You’ll be 3,000 miles away from it.

  33. angela says:

    i was about to write, “aw, a snowy, middle of the night walk, how nice!” then i saw by your pic how fucking cold it must have been (might still be), and that nice walk idea just flew out of my head.

    now i want Blueberry Breakfast Bread.

    • Richard Cox says:

      It wasn’t that cold, like five degrees, maybe. But the wind-driven snow made it a little less comfortable. The wind chill was between -10 and -20.

      But if you wear the right clothes it’s totally fine. And don’t lace your boots too tightly. Cold-weather hint from Becky.

  34. Marybear says:

    I have eggs, whole wheat bread, and real vanilla extract =)
    I am ready for the snow flurries they’ve predicted for tomorrow.

    ok flurries or rain showers =P it almost never snows here, and I’m diabetic so …I’m never gonna make French toast ={ I don’t even know why I own REAL vanilla extract, it’s just another bottle I have to store in my fridge beside the insulin.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading that though =)

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