it's not too cold, we've grown soft

I wrote this one at Christmas time. I decided to avoid publishing it until after the cold had gone away. And then, earlier this week I was complaining about the cold and seriously considering packing up and taking my husband and my mom to a warmer climate. I often think about moving but I would have to kidnap my mom if I were to leave. No other motive other than I am her favourite and she couldn't bear to live without me. So, there I was, complaining about the frigid temperatures and I opened my drafts folder to find this...


This post comes on the heels of a nearly record breaking week of ridiculously cold temperatures. I am talking the kind of cold where your skin will freeze in a matter of minutes. The kind of cold that makes your car stop running on the highway, like it says, 
why are we going anywhere in this? No one should work in this and therefore neither will I, 
-your otherwise reliable car. 
The kind of cold that makes you move closer to the middle of the room because even though your furnace is on full blast nothing is going to keep that kind of cold from seeping into your house. 

My brother and best friend were visiting during this cold snap. My brother had moved out to the Sunshine Coast and I am certain that the cold was just for him. It was to remind him that he could survive in the frigid temperatures even though he doesn't want to anymore. And my best friend, she lives in the world's second largest most northerly city, yet it was warmer there than it was here. Figure that one out... well I can actually tell you. Where I live it is as if it is on top of a very gradual mountain. From every direction that you approach this city you actually drive up to it. It has a fairly high elevation but it is ridiculously flat. And the way that the wind patterns all swirl around my city means that we get every bad weather pattern. We get arctic air fronts, and we get whatever blows off of the Hudson Bay, sometimes we get a Chinook from the west, but mostly we get every cold front because we're up on this platter that just begs to be frozen. 

I've talked about in the past how people have become terrified of weather. And that was confirmed because even Rick Mercer did a rant on his national program about how weather, instead of just being a reality, has become this overly terrifying phenomenon. Perhaps it is because we haven't found a way to control it...yet. In his rant he talks about how 'meteorologists' have become fear mongers and have turned the facts - 10 cm of snow - into something that will paralyze and cause such chaos. That isn't something to be feared, that's just life here in Canada. 

I think we have become soft. I seem to remember times when we were kids when the temperature would drop well below -40 and we would play ringette in the town rink with no heat, and no insulation because the ice was natural. And it still is. 

I remember a morning, and this only happened once, where my parents let us stay home from school because it was -70 or something stupid like that. It was so cold that only my mom's Pontiac Lemans (if you're unfamiliar with cars it was a muscle car with a beast of an engine) would start and once it got running my dad drove around the block and the tires were frozen so it would be smooth and then thunk on the ground where it had froze over night. My parents made us walk to school that afternoon because they didn't want to be hard on the car. I'll let that sink in for you. 

I remember thinking how many of my peers were weak-sauce for getting picked up from school, while also hoping that their parents would pull over and give me a ride home. So I had reason to hate them on two counts. 

And what is with indoor recess? I don't ever remember getting an indoor recess in all of my elementary days. Even if it was raining cats and dogs we were sent outside to run around and then smell like wet cats and dogs for the rest of the afternoon. 

I have never had a snow day. Or an 'it's too freaking cold so don't come to school' day. That is just how it is here. Sure, sometimes the busses don't run and the kids that rely on that for transportation are exempt from school, but I myself as a student and educator have never had a snow day. Even in university we had a snow storm that would have shut down the entire province of Ontario but classes ran as scheduled, however there was a level of grace given to commuting students. And in graduate school there was a snow storm where we got 21 cm of snow in one day, that is more than most mountains get in a day, and I did not go to school in a mountain range, but classes were not cancelled. Things went on as usual. 

Last winter we had record breaking snow amounts. We had more snow in November than we had in the entire previous winter.  Every snow record that existed in our short history was broken. And this year I think we're going for a cold breaking record. But we wear it like a badge because even if you lived in the Antarctic, we were colder than you were last week. I wish I was kidding. But this is where we live. 

This is where we live. 

I figure if I keep repeating it, it may sink in. This is not something that is going to change. We live up on that weird platter that invites frigid winds from every direction. We live in a deep freeze with a wind machine. But what we do get is crystal blue skies to go with those minus a million temperatures. We get to see the clouds rolling in and out. We get to see the animals preparing for the upcoming cold snaps. We don't need meteorologists to tell us what's coming, we can see it, we can feel it, and some of us develop weird bodily ticks that tell us in our knee or hip when a cold front is rolling in. 

We have turned into reverse tall tale people. We look at the past and say it has never been this cold. Everyone talks a big game of leaving here in search for less extreme weather but no one ever leaves. Well, a few do but we make fun of them. So really, deep down we love it. It's not too cold, it's a story to tell Americans, it's the topic of any conversation that has run out of ideas, it's the small talk with strangers, it is our birthmark. No matter where we go, we will know the cold, intimately. 

That's all. 


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