Think about the phrase “dead of winter.” There is no phrase like that for summer, fall or spring that I know of. That’s because winter can kill you dead, while those other sissy seasons can’t even maim you.
Oh I know what you are probably saying. Heat can kill too, right? Well maybe in some places but not here in NEPA. We get, what, maybe a week of really HOT weather in the summer? A few days of 90 degrees?
But here is the difference between hot times in the city in NEPA and cold times.
You are trapped outside in the heat. You find shade. You drink a refreshing cold drink. You fan yourself. You live.
Trapped outside when it’s below freezing? You die. There you have it.
My thoughts stray this way because as I write this the thermometer is displaying “1” degree. 1 is not a number for a temperature. 1 is a number for a combo meal, or, 1 is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do. But there it is in all its liquid crystal display glory. 1 single stinking solitary degree.
Everything is hard in weather like this, no pun intended. Car doors refuse to open. Once you get them open cars doors refuse to stay shut. Cars refuse to start. Once you get them started and moving they refuse to stop.
If they were horses the landscape would be littered with dead ones.
Things break in the cold. I have a collection of ice scrapers that have shattered rather than make a windshield see through. Your flesh sticks to anything metal (See: “A Christmas Story”) and anything that hurts in normal temperatures is agony in 1 degree. Scrape your knuckles attaching jumper cables in the summer and it hurts. Same thing in 1 degree and it feels like your knuckles have been dipped in sulfuric acid.
And just to make things fun when it’s this cold we also get the thrilling prospect of snow. It’s like a double whammy. It’s so cold that the milk of human kindness freezes solid upon exposure and you have to go out into the world with a snow shovel and work.
The other day someone asked me (this was a person whose thermometer has never heard of 1 degree) why we live here.
I had no answer. No one ever asks you “Cold enough for you?” on a 1 degree day.
And I haven’t even mentioned the wind chill. In summer we have something called the heat index. I see it and think, “yeah it’s hot.” When I see the wind chill temperature I want to move to any place on the equator.