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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Exposed Flesh

It was seven degrees below zero this morning, bus-time. That’s standing air temperature, by the way.

For those of you outside of the U.S., that’s -20 degrees Celsius.

At that temperature, it’s less than 11 minutes before exposed flesh freezes.

Frozen exposed flesh in under 11 minutes! Isn’t that delightful?

Minnesotans are known for their heartiness, their work ethic, and their general inability to recognize when nature’s got them over a barrel.

Ask a Minnesotan why they live in Minnesota and odds are good that you’ll get a long and only partially honest explanation of how their people are from here, the public school system is good, the quality of life is good, how they might run into Prince someday, and so on.

It actually has nothing to do with quality of life or chance run-ins with Prince.

The truth is that we’re masochists. Runny-nosed, squinty-eyed, chapped-lipped masochists.

It’s as easy as that.

Really, what other reason can there be for living in an area that can kill you in under an hour just by changing seasons?

I could tell you about how many people a winter wander out of the house, drunk, only to be found 20 feet from the front door, frozen to death. I could even tell you about how Yours Truly, at 13, permanently damaged all ten toes because she wore her mother’s fashion boots rather than her own mukluks while delivering the Sunday paper during a snowstorm because she had a crush on a fellow paper deliverer and thought – well, who knows what the hell I thought at that age…

But why? Frankly, it’s depressing; and us old-time Minnesotans have no time for such stories when we’re actually busy putting on a layer of protective fat and searching for increasingly better lotions for our cracked, reddened hands…

The weather forecast calls for a low of -17 Fahrenheit by the time the bus comes Tuesday morning.

Ooooh. Hit me again. It feels so good.

28 comments:

IB said...

When I read the title of your post, I thought, perhaps Pearl has changed the direction of her blog. I was pleased to see you hadn't and that the post is only about the insanity of living in Minnesota. I can relate: I live in the Pacific Northwest where it rains 9 months out of the year. I have no earthly reason to be here other than my relatives, none of whom are any smarter than I, all live here too.



IB

derfina said...

Heh. Runny noses? In weather that will freeze FLESH?

The Retired One said...

Oh Pearl...that's NOTHING. Us Yoopers (living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, which borders on Lake Superior, across from Canada) call those temperatures in the winter: a tropical breeze. We woke up to 22 degrees below zero this morning (which with the wind chill factor..well...let's just say I don't want to know!).
Masocists? Nope...I think it is just a mental challenge to see if you can live here year-round without going postal. There are even people who jump into open Lake Superior water as a challenge. They call themselves the "Polar Bears" and get on TV every year.
Me? I am on the computer these days 24/7: looking for a trip to Mexico. We go for a week every winter so that I don't go out of my frikkin' mind.
I think we live here so we appreciate spring, summer and fall all the more....
Bless you and keep warm!!

darsden said...

It is 70 & sunny here today (MS)..just thought I would put a lil salt to it... ;-)

Pearl said...

IB: That's true! Don't know how you guys do the continual rain thing.
ha ha. That's crazy. :-)

Hey, Derfina.
I swear! We're standing at the bus stop, eyes and noses running, toes and fingers freezing. It's sick!

Retired One, I actually went to two weeks of jazz camp up at MTU in Houghton-Hancock in the late 70s. What a beautiful area!
And yes. Complaining about the cold to a Yooper is pretty silly. :-)

Hey, Darsden.
70? Are we even in the same country?!

Pearl

Sweet Cheeks said...

When my oldest girl was just learning to drive Mr. Cheeks and I had a very serious talk with her about driving in the winter time. He was warning her about how bad the cold and wind gets here in Idaho. She rolled her eyes and said "Oh dad...I already know all about the wind shield factor!"
Ahhh...the wisdom of youth! :)

Red Squirrel said...

-20 C????

As David Attenborough would say:

'Fuck, and if I may add, that'

Pearl said...

Hi, SweetCheeks!
Awwww! That is really cute!
Idaho! Drove through the upper part (Coeur d'Alene, is that right?) two years ago. Beautiful area! And super cold, too, isn't it?

Hi, Red.
I'm actually kind of embarrassed now. :-) It's like having someone find all your empty bottles, now that I have admitted to living in such a ridiculous environment...

Pearl

Marissa said...

Is it wrong that I became almost violently jealous when I heard you guys were getting a blizzard!? I miss my homeland...

And thinking I might run into Prince...

Ann's Rants said...

I have had it with these godforsaken temperatures. I too, grew up in the tundra, and get those same itchy toes every winter to remind me of waiting for 45 minutes in below zero windchills for the Madison Metro Bus to the Mall. Didn't matter how good your boots were.

Pearl said...

Hey, Marissa.
Yep. Not only is it ridiculously cold - but the cable went out last night! I thought I would DIE -- and it was the season premiere of Intervention!

Hi, Ann.
My toes, my fingers. It burns! Exactly why I wear so many layers now. I'm thinking of writing a piece on a Minnesota striptease and just how long it would be before a person was naked...

Oh, I'm feelin' Spring already...

Pearl

Steve said...

Nothing beats dousing yourself in goose fat every morning... handy if you need to swim large distances too.

Ann's Rants said...

That's a great post idea! Don't forget that last layer--oh never mind that's just dead skin.

WV: kybrod (a girl who likes her lubricant)

Ann's Rants said...

I gave you a badge, my fabulous frost-bitten friend. C'mon over. xo

EskimoBob said...

I love it when you take your glove off while outside then try to open a door, or use the shovel, or touch anything metal. You feel your skin freeze to the item, and think: Seriously?

Or when your eyelids temporarily freeze together because your tearing up.

There are so many other things - ahh the joys of sub-zero temperatures.

MS said...

I used to work for Intervention here in LA. Glad to know you're watching!

Also, there's speculation it might snow here tomorrow. The 50 year storm, they call it, as in it only happens every 50 years.

Pearl said...

Hi, Steve.
I hear good things about bear fat, too. Makes ya go all Babe Didrickson (was that the first woman to swim the English Channel?)

Hi, Ann.
Nice WV. :-)

Hey, EskimoBob.
I've tried to explain to people the feeling of your eyelids freezing or that weird ball of ice you can get in your nostrils... Really, it's something that needs to be experienced.

Hey, MS.
Really? I'm always so relieved when the person gets help...
And now I'm picturing what LA will look like with snow... Think of what it will do to traffic!

Pearl

Charmaine said...

Oh my GAWWWWWD.

It was 54 degrees today and I couldn't feel my toes.

I wore a ski parka.

If I had muklucks I would have worn them. brrrrrr

Lee said...

And you do this by choice?

Braja said...

Oh. Uh. Well. You need to read my post if you wanna talk about cold, MISSY.

Heinous said...

I don't envy you. We only get down to about -5ish here tops in the dead of winter. It's all yours... but it looks good on you.

Lilly's Life said...

I cant imagine, seriously...but I like the bit about putting on layers of fat. ..I so could do that..easily.

KMcJoseph said...

You should just encase the entire city in a dome like in Logan's Run.

Ann's Rants said...

Pearl, first I gave you an award, but then I stole your identity today to be my co-correspondant, and I hate to tell you this but you got a little sassy with Braja. What do I owe you for royalties?

a mouthy irish woman? ridiculous! said...

i hate frozen snot. it's the worst ever.

Braja said...

You out there Pearl honey?

ICKY said...

And to make it better, in this nanny state, smokeing indoors is not allowed. So any adult that chooses to smoke, has to smoke outside. Hooray for nanny stae mentality.

justsomethoughts... said...

thats actually taking masochism to an art form.
and here i thought people lived there because of all the outdoor skating rinks.
you learn something new every day...