"It's funny," Nolan said, sitting on his usual bar stool, watching the condensation form on his beer bottle. "They never write songs about sleet. They write about sunshine, and they write about rain. Oh yes, they write plenty about rain."
A drop ran down the bottle and onto the bar and into a tiny gouge in the wood, where it stayed. Nolan didn't recall that he had made the gouge doing a trick with an iced-tea spoon years before.
"Oh, yes," he said and laughed bitterly. "They write plenty about rain."
"Why would anyone want to write about sleet?" asked the woman sitting next to him.
"Raindrops falling on my head, in my heart, down my cheek," Nolan said, paying no attention to the woman's comment. "Like it's some kind of tragedy, like rain is bad. Rain is kinetic; it makes things grow, makes rivers run. Sleet is static. You'll get a broken foot trying to run on sleet."
"But metaphorically . . . " the woman began.
"Metaphorically, metaphysically, metatarsally - it's no excuse," Nolan said, taking a drink. "All these songwriters weeping over rain. Sleet, now there's a demon. Sleet can paralyze an entire city, bring everything to a standstill."
"Maybe nothing rhymes with sleet."
"That's crazy. What about heat? What about feet?" Nolan asked. He paused, looking off toward the pinball machine for inspiration. "What about, 'You froze my sheets, With your heart of sleet'?"
"Oh, lovely," said the woman.
"No, don't go," Nolan said. "I know that wasn't very good, but it was just to illustrate a point. Sleet is bad. Bad, I tell you."
"You sound as if you speak from experience."
"No," said Nolan. "No, I don't. But sometimes I imagine things."
"I imagine you do," said the woman, eyeing him suspiciously and getting off her stool.
Nolan didn't notice. "Sometimes I imagine being outside when a sleet storm hits, standing perfectly motionless and allowing it to cover me from head to foot, freezing me to the spot."
"So don't stand motionless," said the woman, leaving.
"You just can't talk to some people," Nolan said to nobody, and ordered another beer.
-- June 17, 1991