As I write this, it’s no degrees out. It’s neither above or below zero – it is zero. As Minneapolis winters go, this one’s already proving to be quite the brute, and that’s saying something.
For those of you living below the Mason-Dixon Line who see the national weather forecast and think, “Man, why the hell would anyone live in those conditions?” – let me offer a little context:
- Intense cold is better than intense heat. No, really. If you want to be appalled by a climate, move to Tucson. Below-zero weather may be unpleasant at first, but you can dress for it. If you’ve got a down jacket, gloves and a hat, you can survive almost anything. As for intense heat? Lest you live in a nudist colony, there’s not much you can do when it’s 107 degrees out, dry heat or not.
- Cold brings out the good in people. Yesterday, for instance, I got stuck backing out of my driveway. Whenever the streets get plowed, it leaves a wicked wall of snow packed at the end of my driveway. I had forgotten about the Great Wall of Snow and wound up spinning my wheels for a few minutes. Then, a neighbor across the street came out, started shoveling the snow out from underneath my tires and helped push me loose. Never met him. Never asked for anything in return. Minnesota Nice, maybe, but I give credit to the weather.
- What does (-24) degrees feel like? No different than zero or five or 10 degrees. As soon as you get below 15, it’s all the same. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. (That is, assuming it’s not windy. If it’s windy and (-24) degrees out, you better have good survival instincts and a love for the indoors.
- We’re really proud of the cold weather. Discussing weather is actually one of the biggest hobbies in the region. Try going to a liquor store, video rental store or grocery store before an Alberta clipper is about to bear down – we don’t mind being forced inside. In many cases, it brings us out. Drive along a country highway at night from December through February and you’ll get used to seeing the snowmobile headlights in ditches. Don’t even get me started on hockey.
So, while this winter has already shown it’s teeth in the first week of December, I’m not complaining. Coffee, beer and soup never taste better than when it’s cold and seeing your breath is – admit it, no matter how childish – pretty cool. And in general, we’re pretty boring people up here in the frozen tundra. If nothing else, the extreme climate gives us a mystique, an aura, a reputation.
Tough, though? Hardly. You should hear us whine at the first sign of a summer heat wave.