Rumor has it we should expect -60 by weekend. That’s MINUS-60 degrees Fahrenheit. In other words, COLD, in any language and by whatever means you measure it. We leave our rigs running when we shop, plug in our cars and trucks to keep the oil warm enough to be fluid, and snow pants, winter boots, and a blanket are stashed somewhere behind the seat.
I like this time of year. Maybe because we all look the same, bundled and swathed and blowing steam. We clomp around, penguin-walking across icy parking lots and trails, arms at the ready to break a fall. There are no tattoos, no piercings, no crazy clothes combinations, cleavage or crack exposures because it’s COLD and unless there is frost building up somewhere inside your skull, your main fashion statement is one of warmth – fleece, wool, down, or a variety of combinations to fulfill that purpose.
Winter is different from summer. In winter we keep to our inhibitions. Well, I’ll grant that we don’t do polar dips in July, but c’mon, you know what I’m talking about. We cover up, huddle, hibernate. There may an urge to let it all hang out, but we don’t. I guarantee you: at 45 degrees below zero, we do not let anything hang out, not ever, if we can help it.
I was getting gas the other day. On the other side of the pump a big diesel rig pulled up with a snowmachine in the back, a couple gas cans, some winter toy stuff. I’m not paying much attention until I hear this huff-huffing and something like a whimper that can only be coming from the dude who drove up in that truck and is now pumping fuel without gloves. It’s cold and nobody wants to touch metal that’s been sitting for a month or two at -40. Gloves, man; macho is pitiful without gloves.
I’m fortunate to live in the hills. We’re at least 15-20 degrees warmer than town or the low-lying areas. I’ve yet to see the thermometer on my deck hit -45 this winter. Maybe minus-40, but I’m spared the really frigid digits until I get to they gym, when just getting from my truck to the front door is a hold-your-breath exercise. Fortunately, I’m the only exerciser first thing in the morning so my warm-up activities are unbeknownst to the world except the girl who opens the place and turns on the HEAT.
“…He knows, because he once saw a guy stick his tongue to a railroad track on a bet, and the fire department had to come get the guy’s tongue off the track, because he couldn’t get it off.” Of course you’ve seen The Christmas Story. Poor Ralphie would never make it up here…