Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Winter Killers

I made it back from NW Indiana this past Friday. Good timing. Between the twenty-five inches of snow and the -16F weekend freeze, the whole region was shut down. Not that that mattered to me, as the college was closed yesterday and today because of the polar vortex.

Sunday night, I had to find out for myself just how cold it was, so, maybe a little liquored up, I stepped outside barefoot wearing t-shirt and jeans. Wind about 20 gusting to 40, temp at -15 = wind chills of -45F with occasional -50F. It was fan-fucking-tastic! REALLY amazing. Like a reverse sauna!

It also - as it was Birdseye frozen food conditions - got damned cold very quickly. In retrospect, not the smartest move I made. I was on the phone to eldest brother in California at the time, giving him an up-to-date report on the outdoors. He suggested I get a double handful of snow and apply it to either side of my scrotum (meaning, he thought I was a knucklehead). But honestly, I was out maybe two minutes max, and frostbite don't kick in until after about ten minutes.

And then I did it again last night. I managed about two minutes before I came back in. But same experience, really kind of a wonderful exhilaration, with the promise of a warm retreat in the offing. Ah, but to be out there, improperly dressed, again, for a supposedly bright person, pretty much a bonehead move.

But, you know, I've always like experiencing extreme weather events. I can remember much colder winters than this one. I did a quick check, and Chicago had -23F, 29 mph winds = -83F windchill temps on Xmas Eve, 1983. I was out in that too.

So, I guess I'm turning into a fat old cat that likes his cozy warm spot. Can't handle it anymore, I guess.

But you know, we have all become quite the comfort-loving creatures over the past 10,000 years or so, no? I mean, my ice-ape ancestors were out and about through 100,000 years of ice. Hell, we humans are winter killers. In fact, most North hemisphere predators are winter killers. How did we get to be such wimpy weenies?

Well, we all know the answer to that, don't we?

Stay warm!

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