Friday, January 21, 2011

Okay, Okay, I Admit It's Cold Out There

I guess this is my annual "I really love Winter" essay. I'll keep it short for you warm weather types.

-2 Degrees Fahrenheit this morning, with a windchill of -29F. And this has been a mild Chicago winter.  If memory serves, we usually get about two weeks of -10 to -20 degree weather for one to two weeks. I think my personal best is around -35 degrees. But you know, when you get down that low it really doesn't fucking matter. Cold is cold.

Northern Hemisphere Winter
I'd like to operate under the fiction that, being a Northern European type, I'm cold adapted and it doesn't bug me. But no, it ain't so. No, I am not cold adapted the way, say an Inuit or a Yakut is, but I can handle it. I even enjoy it. Then again, it's not torture the way it is for some of my tropical origin acquaintances, who just - do - not - like - winter. The same way that I really don't like temperatures above around 80F - unless there's a pool and a gin and tonic nearby.

Layering. That's what it's all about. That -35 degree day, I 'll bet I had nine layers of clothes on, and I was stupid cold by the time I got in. Literally. The cold sucked about a good thirty IQ points out of me. It was a chore to turn on the TV. Harder still to watch. That's fucking stupid cold.

I love winter.

P.S. It's not an anniversary or anything, but speaking of cold, I'm reminded of the three big blizzards I've been in. They were all in January. The first one, the biggest one, was the Blizzard of 1967. People in Chicago talk about the Blizzard of 1978, but they don't know shit. '67 was the one to be in. I was ten years old, over in NW Indiana. Which means, after Chicago got 22 inches of snow in one day, we got two more days of 22 inches of snow courtesy of the lake effect. It was Donner Pass time for Hoosiers. Of course, being all of ten, I just remember digging tunnels into snowdrifts and sledding off the roof. It was fucking great.

The Blizzard of 1978 I missed out on, being in college down in Bloomington, IN.

The Blizzard of 1979, I happened to be one the road heading back home with my brother Eric in that one. There is a stretch of Interstate-65 which happens to accumulate every wind thrown drift from the west all the way out to Nebraska. It's guaranteed to be closed in practically every storm. And we managed to hit that section just as the jaws of the giant fucking Frost-Fenris wolf of that storm clamped down shut and solid on Indiana. We were driving my brother's rusted out piece-of-shit 1971 black Ford F150 pickup truck whose name was Elvis. My brother had replaced so much of the body with rivetted sheet metal that it looked like a WWII B-17 bomber. I think it took us about three hours to go 30 miles, and when we got home (I've no idea why we came back home), our father shook his head and muttered "...dumbasses".


  1. one Chicago winter was enough for me.

  2. The only thing I get tired of - and it's usually right around the thaw - is putting on and taking off all those fucking clothes every time you want ot do something.

  3. Ahh.....Elvis. I might even have a picture of that bad boy someplace. It was after that experience that I replaced the "Flintstone floor" on the driver's side with 2x4s, rags, and driveway sealant. You know why? Because wood don't rust.

  4. Welcome Kurmonium,

    Yes, I failed to mention the Fred Flintstone floor on the passenger's side. Quite an oversight on my part, considering I was the one got pressurized slush shot up my pant leg when you went through winter puddles.