When the snow falls that hard and so regularly over the period of a night or so this place becomes a de facto pedestrian campus, city, miniature you're-big-people-now downtown approximation. The streets are big sidewalks.

Our patterns are pulled from us, even though we're clinging to them so hard until that last finger falls straight from their weird edges. We sit where we are and talk about snow, maybe. snow angels, snowball fights, snow football, massive crop-circle snow outlines of genitalia, stick-on-parking-lot, of the impressionist method. It's our svengali for a few days, and afterward we're left with a big white void where that big white void was.

The new pedestrians walk around in warm clothes and keep to themselves. Eyes straight ahead. It's small enough here that you can't do that, and big enough that you don't realize you can't do that.

Eventually your new pattern, that forced spontaneity that hardens like the packed snow on the road into a big mess, means you make incidental contact with a new set of people. There's a different girl you feel like waving at but don't; a variety of slightly-off pedestrians you spot on a regular basis, walking the other way. A new crowd at Starbucks, reading the same books but listening to different music.

Some new acquaintances, maybe.

This is the big deal.

Only the route you take in common, like most acquaintances. But in the moment, acquaintances and friends seem all-encompassing and eternal, like always, and you forget why you're acquainted, and why that's important--the reason you keep seeing each other so frequently.

The snow is melting now. It'll start in earnest around Tuesday, and by Thursday it'll freeze again and become ice. Ice is more dangerous to drive in, but it doesn't hold onto us the same way. No one in my social circle is making ice angels, or ice penises, and if they plan to they'll keep it to themselves. Things will get back to normal. The people I saw for a while are driving now. I wonder if I'm in the background of any of their memories.