Monday, January 6, 2014

Ice Age - 2014

            The great city of Chicago is under a deep freeze. It’s 10:36 am and it’s -15 degrees outside. Car tires are frozen to the city streets in some places. It is not fit for man nor beast out there. People are wrapped up in as many layers of heavy clothing as they can muster. They toddle along like some strange wardrobe/Michelin Man hybrids over the icy sidewalks. I marvel at their desire to make it to where ever it is they have to go to on such a brutally cold day.
            I don’t enjoy the cold. If fact I mostly hate it. I prefer spring weather above most others. I do enjoy the summer months, but in Chicago, the humidity can be a real downer on actually enjoying any outside activity. It’s no fun to stick to everything while constantly wiping the sweat from dripping into your eyes.  I certainly prefer the spring weather. The high sixties or low seventies is where I’d prefer. I like wearing light jackets or maybe a sweater as I casually stroll the city streets.

             Winter and I used to get along just fine though. I used to march through the snow like Darth Vader on Hoth. I even had Darth’s theme music playing in my head as I did so. I would let my long black overcoat hang open as the wind whipped it around my back like Darth’s cape. I would try to catch my shadow projected on the white snows from the street lights overhead to see how closely my march matched that of Vader’s. My imagination made it seem like it was spot on, but if you looked at me from say, a passing car, you’d chuckle at the child trudging through the snow.

             Winter used to be snowman making, snowball fights, ice skating, skitching (the art of hanging onto the bumper of a moving vehicle as it pulls you along a snowy, icy street or alley. A most dangerous winter activity, but totally fun). We also did some sledding. I think it was the first time I went to a toboggan run that I started to dislike winter and the activities associated with winter. I was wet, cold, sore, bored, wet, and cold. I realized that this isn’t fun. It’s cold, damn it. I don’t like being cold. Cold can go screw itself.

             I’m certainly more of a spring and summer type these days. I prefer shorts over long pants and short sleeves over layers and layers of heavy clothes. I like the sitting al fresco and having a casual drink or cigarette. The winter keeps those things from me. Especially the smoking. Smoking in winter is akin to a Siberian exile. We smokers are forced outside into the blistering cold to fulfill out nicotine needs like Ivan Denisovich is forced to work. But we’re still cool damn it, still c-c-c-c-cool.

             My apartment windows are currently completely covered in frost and I can’t really see outside. The sun is shining but it’s completely ineffectual. It’s not warm enough to melt the frost. I can see a small patch of blue sky, in fact, there doesn’t seem to be a cloud floating above anywhere. It’d be a lovely day, any other day. Instead it’s still well below zero and I can feel the cold nipping through the many drafts in my apartment at my exposed ankles. I have tasks that need completing today so I’m pondering the bundling I’ll have to do to venture out into the snowbound wastelands.

             Two pairs of socks, flannels under my jeans, tee-shirt under a long sleeve under a sweater, scarf, jacket, gloves, hat, ear covers, and something I’m probably forgetting which will cause me to suffer under the brutality of unrelenting cold. I wish I had eye goggles. (I also hope Chicago’s homeless found warm places to hold up during this deep freeze.) Stay warm my fellow Chicagoans. If you’re reading this somewhere warm…  (cough).

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