06 February 2007

It's Snowing Outside

Generally, if it's snowing, you'd think that it was cold. That's what is in our mindset: Snow=mittens, scarves, wooly caps, hot chocolate, roaring fires, etc. Perhaps it's only the Christmas industry run amuck, or perhaps it's in our collective unconscious mind, all of us that hail ethnically from colder climates.

But it isn't cold. it's 8 degrees out. And that's warm, this week. Yesterday, the wind chill was down to something like -16. That's cold. No, allow me to reiterate. That's COLD. If you have been unfortunate (I'll explain) enough to never have experienced cold like that, well allow me to explain.

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First off, if you live in one of these climates, you understand the importance of layers. Wearing a warm coat is vital, of course, but it is only one step. There needs to be at least a layer or two of sweaters/fleeces that you can ad to or subtract as the need may arise.

Scarves are a necessity. Hats as well. No one tries to walk around without a hat, 'cause not only is that silly, it's stupid. You lose much of your body heat from your head.


When it's this cold, the moment you step outside, your nosehair freezes. That's a disconcerting feeling. It's possible that if you are bundled up properly, and the wind isn't blowing, you won't notice how cold it is, unles your nosehairs freeze. That's the true thermostat, I believe.

If the wind starts a blowing, then you will know if you've properly bundled up. Improper layering will expose you for the fool that you are, and the wind will cut into your cuffs, under the bottom of the coat. No scarf? Down the neck it goes. Very unpleasant.

Why would anyone view this as beneficial? Why shouldn't we all move to California, where youth is eternal and the weather unchanging?

There is a sense of community here. We're all in this together, is the general feeling, and I would be willing to be that the incidence of violent crime against strangers is lower when it is this cold. You see, the first feeling you get when you see other people is empathy. 'Damn, he looks cold. Poor guy." "Jesus, that's the coat she's wearing?" "Hang on, busdriver! Someone else is running for the bus! Don't strand them out in the cold!"

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Other people feel the same for you, too.

I value that. There's a reason that people in the Midwest are known for their friendliness. It's because we're all in this together, all of us waiters, cops, construction workers, bankers, aldermen, IT people.

During the winter, we're all equals.

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