James Lileks
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If winter were a houseguest who’d overstayed his welcome, now would be the time for a talk. He was supposed to move out last month, said he knew some people down in South America where he could crash, but the day came and went — and instead of leaving, he had some more of his stuff delivered to your house. He kept turning down the thermostat, too.

“Do something,” your partner hisses. “He has to go.”

Fine, fine. Yes. It’s time. He’s sitting on the sofa, clipping his toenails while he watches the Weather Channel, not caring where the little pieces land.

“Uh, Winter? Look, it’s been great to have you here.“

“I like it here. You’re good people.” Clip. “Did you like what I did for Christmas? Storybook stuff, man, real Currier and Ives.”

“Yeah, that was great, but, uh, we have Spring coming to stay, and we need the room.”

“Spring? I know that dude. He’s always late.”

“No, seriously, Spring will get here any day now. We got a postcard.”

“OK.” Clip. “I can crash on the couch when Spring gets here. No prob.”

“Well, it’s just ... ”

“Why don’t you come out and say it? He doesn’t like me.” Clip. Clip. “I thought we were buds, man. Remember how I gave you those big awesome slow-falling flakes on Thanksgiving that one year, so it wasn’t all ugly out? But if you’ve got your orders ... ”

You’re suddenly filled with conviction and resolve.

“I’m tired of you. Granted, it was cool to see you at first; it was like old times. But it’s like you can’t pick up on hints, social cues. We’ve been leaving gardening catalogs around the house. I even made a big deal of putting my snowblower away for the year.”

“I left early last year. People were golfing on this day last year.”

“Yes. But right now that’s not helpful. History is meaningless at this point. In 1858, which you’ve probably forgotten all about, you stuck around into July. The average temperature the first half of summer was 51.”

“You always gotta bring that up. I knew you would. Like I haven’t done anything good since 1858. What about 1934? Huh? I gave you guys all the space you needed. I was outta here by late February.”

“And don’t think we didn’t appreciate it.” Pause. “Sorry, that didn’t come out right.”

“I know what you meant,” he snaps. “I get it. OK, I’ll go. I hope your best friend Spring doesn’t show up when I’m moving, because you could get snow and a tornado at the same time, and that wouldn’t be pretty. I’m not saying I’d make a snornado that sucks all the muskies up from the lakes and drops them all over downtown, but it could happen. And if you want some rush-hour fun, wait until everyone’s braking on a slick road full of fish guts.”

“A snornado?”

“Yeah. And maybe I won’t come back next year. Maybe I’ll get your e-mails about a brown Christmas, boohoo, and I’ll be like, ‘Whatever, bro.’ I get the message loud and clear.”

“Look, I’m sorry. We like having you stay, we really do. It’s just that ... ”

“Never mind. I’ll go. Just do me a favor, and forget I was ever here. That’s the only way this works. Promise? Two weeks from now, we never had this conversation. Deal?”

“You actually think I’ll forget you were ever here?”

Winter grins. “You will. Guaranteed.”

james.lileks@startribune.com • 612-673-7858 • Twitter: @Lileks • facebook.com/james.lileks