Saturday, January 17, 2009

It's January, Dammit

Even though this is the coldest January we've had in about 25 years or so, it is not unusual for us in Northern Ohio to suffer the stings and bone marrow chilling effects of this frigid weather. The press doesn't help much, drilling it into our heads that the wind chill factor is even worse than the thermometer reading. They stand grimly in front of their fake weather maps and sweep their hands across the ice-blue front moving right toward the viewers. This is now, and tomorrow is going to be EVEN WORSE!! And it usually is.

What I really don't like about this weather is not just that it's cold. After all, I am fortunate: I have a warm house, and a car that works and I don't have to go out if I don't want to. I must say, though, that when I turn the thermostat down to 50 before I go to bed, and I still hear the furnace roaring to life throughout the night, the vision of dollar signs going up the chimney is not too comforting. But I am lucky. I can pay for it without having to go hungry, so I can't complain really.

What does bother me, and it is so petty I am almost ashamed to write about it, is the bundling up that must be done: the gloves, the scarves, the thermal undershirt, the zipped up jacket, the boots. (I refuse to wear a hat unless I have to walk some distance through a parking lot. My hair becomes electrified in the dry cold and a hat only makes it worse, downright shocking.) I feel like Ralphie's brother Randy in "A Christmas Story." If I put my keys in my pocket it takes forever to fish them out, unless I take my gloves off and stuff them into my mouth, which is the only accessible orifice available. I use a cane when the ground is slippery to avoid skidding onto my face, and then when I have to carry a bag of groceries, try to get my keys out, balance the goddam cane, my purse and the grocery bag, I end up shedding possessions like a molting turkey. I feel like a molting turkey.

I see students tripping merrily along in sneakers and little bitty jackets and envy their hardiness and their parents' health insurance. I couldn't do that even when I was in school. I have been cold since the winter of 1940, when my parents uprooted me from the warmth of Atlanta, Georgia. and thrust me into Ohio in January, right into the snow which had always looked so good in picture books, but wasn't , not really. I did forgive them before they shuffled off their mortal coils. But this winter, I must say there's a tad of bitterness.

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