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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Your Flimsy Jacket Will Not Save You, Foolish Mortal

While 17 of the 48 contiguous states find themselves under a Winter Warning, trapped under what is, in some cases, inches of ice covering areas that rarely see ice at all, Minnesota finds itself plunged back into temperatures below zero.

If only I had been alerted; because I would have told Them (the Big Them) that we decline. We (the Big We) have tired of the cold, the dark.

Heated car seats no longer seem like capitalist frippery and good God, flannel is looking sexy.

We’re a practical people, we Minnesotans. November’s weather was to be expected, of course; and December’s was practically a requirement; but we’re slipping out of January now, people, and the whole thing has, frankly, gotten old.

That grinding sound you hear from the north? It’s the sound of Minnesotans gritting their teeth with the thought of February and March.

Another shot of schnapps? Don’t mind if I do!

We were spoiled with the 30-degree weather of the last week or so. Thirty degrees Fahrenheit may seem a tad on the refrigerated side to some people, but given that today is well below zero, we’re talking about a 50-some degree swing in temperature.

Put that in your thermometer and smoke it!

Have you experienced temperatures below zero? Are you familiar with the inter-nasal icebergs? The feeling of the dry cold that comes up through your boots and doesn’t leave your bones until spring? The sensation of frozen eyeballs?

My dear, how do you live?

That is the kind of cold of which I speak: a killing cold.

And this is where we turn to my favorite spot for unobtrusive people-gawking: the bus stop.

Some mornings I am the only one waiting. This provides an opportunity for me to pretend to write down the plate numbers of those who don’t give even the briefest of pauses at the four-way stop signs but roll blithely through, usually while checking their text messages, removing nail polish, or plucking their eyebrows.

Full disclosure: I also, while awaiting the arrival of the bus, practice dance steps I’ve “created”, see how long I can stand there with my eyes closed, and make plans regarding how I will travel south when The End Comes and I’m the Last Person on Earth.

Friday morning’s temperature a little after 7:00 was 25 degrees below zero.

When I approached the bus stop there were two people there I hadn’t seen before.

In jean jackets.

And tennis shoes.

Oh, but they were wearing hoodies under their jean jackets! Ha ha ha!!

And so while we waited, I found myself hoping that the bus would pick us up and then break down somewhere. Somewhere colder than this corner, perhaps near the center of the bridge over the Mississippi on our way into the city, whereupon they would be forced to stagger toward shelter, hopefully bursting into tears of painful frustration as they realized their foolish under-estimation of Mother Nature.

I would walk behind them all the way into the city, murmuring softly about black, frozen toes and how far plastic surgery has come insofar as replacing ears and noses.

When the TV crew showed up (surely a broken down bus was newsworthy?) I would be interviewed, gleefully pointing out how criminally under-prepared those two were.

None of this happened, of course; and while the Pals from Ipanema were driven to stamp their feet to stir blood circulation and cover their ears with their hands and making pitiful noises that sounded suspiciously like oh it’s so cold out here, I can’t believe how cold it is out here, the bus showed up on time and saved them from themselves.

There will be no you-had-it-coming moment on this commute.

Yes. Winter’s not the only thing cold around here.

Ack. I wonder if I would be friendlier if I were on the beach?


My name is PJ. said...

Where you wrote "the sensation of frozen eyeballs", I read "the sensation of frozen balls."

And then I laughed when I realized that wasn't what you had written, but it probably WAS what went through your mind. ;)

sage said...

I have friends from MN who tell those of us living in MI to suck it up, that at zero, it's like spring back home... But it was fun skiing last night under the full moon.

Pearl said...

Is it too early in the morning to contact my male friends and ask them about frozen balls?!

Charlotte Ann said...

January arrived and I packed away all winter clothing. Hell, it's up to 70 degrees here. Well, it WAS up to 70 degrees till last night when the temps dipped down to 37 degrees. I had to dig through the winter closet for something to wear that grazed the tops of my ankles. It's been a looooooooooooong winter here too!

June said...

Frozen balls... I actually had to read that twice too! *Silly*

We to are freezing our nuts, I mean eyeballs off here in good old WI.

I am much friendlier on a beach with the sun shining and waves crashing...No doubt about that!

LucyCooper said...

Oh, it's only in the teens here in Arkansas. If I lived near you, I'd have to spend the winter in a hot bathtub, with a hot water bottle and a eiderdown comforter over that. And a shot of boiled tequila nearby to warm the innards. God help you Pearl.

Golden To Silver Val said...

I'm oh so ready for spring, then summer. But the pessimist in me says....why? Soon it will be December quickly sliding into January...and then the January COLD will only come back. I need to leave for a warmer climate, that's what I really need. The other morning it was 4 when I got up, 6 when I drove to work. I know this sounds like a heat wave to you. But just think...if I moved somewhere more south and they had, say 37 in January, like the commenter above me....wow, THAT would be a heat wave to ME. Michigan is a mystery. Not too long ago we had a winter in which every day was in the 60's all through December. January was only slightly colder. I LOVED it...I want that back!

SuziCate said...

Would you be freindlier if you were at the beach? Probably not today...it's freezing balls here today, too, and snowing like crazy which is sooo not the norm!

powdergirl said...

Haha, I just got an e-mail this morning from a friend in CT who is busy being a hater and blaming all that nasty cold on us Canadians again(the jerk). I sent a reply about how the cold isn't coming from my end and he'd maybe need to look to Minnesota or the Dakotas if he's looking to blame someone.

And here you are confirming it.

The frozen North is quite lovely this month. No snow in the Valley's, no ice burg's, just around 7 above zero celsius.

Seriously! I'm running road side everyday in just a coupla long sleeved t-shirts. It's awesome!

Oh, well I am wearing pants too. And shoes.

Its not THAT warm.

And of course you'd feel better on a beach somewhere, we all would.

Berowne said...

Yes, you Minesotans feel the cold. No question. But the folks who really know what it means to be COLD are the types like me who were raised in southern California -- where 45 degrees is seen as below freezing -- and now we're up here in the Nawth, wondering how we'll make it through February. :-)

Stephanie said...

It's been in the balmy 50s in temperate Oregon. I wore shorts (and blinded my neighbors with the whiteness of my legs) while I mowed the lawn last week.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

It's about 15 degrees and the sun is out, weakly. My hubby is going to the ballpark to watch iceball. They shovel the base paths but not the stadium seats. Last year it was 20 below for this event, and I went anyway. Never again. In my mind, sitting around outside in this weather when you don't have to is just as bad as walking around in inadequate clothing. Because really, what IS adequate in this weather?

KaLynn said...

Is the Ice Age back??

ellen abbott said...

The coldest I ever experienced was 4ยบ below zero. Plenty cold for me thankyouverymuch. Something I NEVER want to experience again.

Molly said...

Oh, come now! I happen to know/ have experienced it first hand, that it snows there in May! Sometimes even in June! Making me sooo glad we no longer live there! Though it's fun to read about...Thanks for turning something dismal into a smile!

CatLadyLarew said...

I remember the old days... back when I lived in the midwest... when my nostril hairs would freeze up and the snow would squeak when I walked on it. It's definitely not for the faint of heart.

lisleman said...

I've been out in below zero F weather but I sure don't like it. Even in the teens and single digits it's crazy to go out without a good hat but for some dumb reason I fail to wear one sometimes. I guess we are always in denial about how severe it is.

Madame DeFarge said...

I think I might come over, seems a nice temperature. My natural insulation would come in handy.

Laoch of Chicago said...

The bundling up I do these days is something fierce. Although once I was one of those guys who walked my dogs in the snow barefoot.

Douglas said...

You spoke of the lightly clad breaking into tears... can one actually cry at those temperatures? Wouldn't it cause the eyelids to freeze solid, blinding the crier? When I lived in Manassas, VA (where they think they have mild winters) and the temp went to 5F, it was painful merely to breathe (hence the scarves covering the mouths).

So, still think global warming is a Bad Thing?

Anonymous said...

Ice is one of the most unfriendly things to see outside.

Pat said...

I cannot imagine cold like that. The coldest I've ever experienced was in December in St. Louis and it was 6 degrees. Here in the mountains of northern Cal, the coldest it's ever gotten for me is 17 degrees, and that happens only rarely.

I'm glad you're keeping up with your dance steps at the bus stop.

Jayne Martin said...

Could...never...do...it. I am a California weather weenie. I marvel at your fortitude. There must be a huge market there for thermal underwear.

Although, it's said that freezing to death isn't a bad way to go. Just sayin'...

The Retired One said...

Oh Pearl, I couldn't agree MORE! I see people all the time up here jump out of their cars with SHORTS on! I even saw someone in sandals go into the gas station yesterday. For GOODNESS SAKE!!!! Cars break down, people!!!
Me? For the first time this winter, I purchased one of those fur-lined Elmer Fudd hats with the ear flaps....I couldn't be happier. Hell, I am over 55, I can wear what the hell I want to....and you know what?
Being warm really is nice.
Fashion is over-rated!!

@eloh said...

I do recall enjoying winter when I was very young and assumed that everyone knew how to hop walk through four feet of snow in the middle of a blizzard. Not to mention the common sense not to "miss" the house and end up dead in the middle of a field, your body found only after the first thaw come spring.

Then, I had to spend a winter way up north a couple years ago.... I recall trying to wrap my daughters face before she went out to "scoop us out".... but I couldn't remember "why"... so she refused. Soon enough she was back for the mysterious face wrap. Her nose holes were frozen shut and she swore there was ice in her eyes....then I remembered the best thing of all... we really did live in the deep south and soon we would go home....

Gadjo Dilo said...

Yes, freezing, bitter cold and ice is so 2009, isn't it!

Marla said...

I shall never complain about our measly Okie snow again. Oh yeah, and I will wear a heavier jacket when I do.

SweetPeaSurry said...

I think everyone's friendlier when on the beach ... hopefully with drink in hand. (Beach sans drink sounds like a recipe for bitchiness if you ask me!)

FOOLS ... FOOLS I say ... I was just reading the what's what of getting stranded in your car (or bus) in a blizzard. Jeez boy-os ... hit the good will and get yeself a real coat!!!

In the meantime, I'm heading south with you and ordering myself up a nice tall mai tai!

Gaston Studio said...

When my daughter was asked to relocate to Minnesota, she gasped aloud and told "them" in no uncertain terms that she'd quit first. She can't take the cold, even southern cold, and always vacations in the tropics. Guess you'll never get to meet her on your turf. Keep warm.

Jocelyn said...

Add to the list of Minnesota traits:

#456: Some of our best moral superiority comes from knowing we're dressed better against the elements than our fellow citizens. I sometimes march up to strangers on the street and ask them what kind of socks they're wearing, just so I can shriek, "COTTON? You mean THE FIBER OF DEATH? Do you know nothing about living through the winter?"

Anonymous said...

So what kind of schnapps? The Wife and I are partial to peach schnapps. Ummmm.

Oh, and that last question: No, based on what you've said here and also just knowing the kind of person you from reading your blog. Definitely no. ;)