Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I'm Mr. Icicle, I'm Mr. Ten Below

Snowmiser74shawn.jpg"Now is the winter of our discontent..." Did politics, general malaise, or the polar vortex  bring this to the tip of my tongue? Sadly, it was probably Winter first, followed by January cabin feverishness. Ahhhh, misapplied Shakespeare, a good way to start the year. My use is even cheesier, since unlike you Dear Reader, I did not immediately recall the rest on my own ("made glorious summer by this sun of York" Richard III), so its apparent meaning of "The time of unhappiness is past" was lost to me. To wit... let us all be of good cheer, even if we are aggravated, aggrieved, malcontented, maladapted*: better times are coming!

(*maybe not, that can be hard to undo! but. you know, take heart.)

It is, however, ridiculously cold. For once it seemed the doom-saying forecasters called it. And even now, though the worst of it has passed (I think?), it's difficult to characterize it as anything other than 'frigid.' I heard 6 degrees below tonight, and apparently double digits are too much to ask. At least through the joy of relativity, the recent 30-degrees-below-with-windchill makes the current sub-zero doable if not especially pleasant. Plus, people are no longer freaking out and stripping all the grocery shelves bare, so that your quick trip of I-just-need-five-things involves unanticipated problem solving. As well as freezing the *insert preferred noun here* off almost every citizen across the U.S. and presenting real danger to the more vulnerable members of our population, it also blew in highly agitated Mom fronts, which the weather experts failed to track on their screens.

On the eve of the coldest projected day, my Mom called me with a pointed mission: to keep her youngest, living several states away, from foolishly exposing her body parts to the elements. I had worked that day from home --  after having shoveled three times the day before to keep up with the snow -- my back was sore, and I was rather done with it. But the next morning -- after reshoveling my drive -- I needed to get back into the office: the multitude of charts I was making were difficult to see on my wee laptop screen.

"HI Mom! How ARE you? How's the weather?"

"Hi, How are YOU???Oh I keep thinking about you!"

"I'm fine, it's *cold*, there's lot of snow, I keep shoveling--"


"well, I just needed to shovel a bit, came back in--"

"DON'T. SHOVEL. Aren't there neighborhood kids*? Did you go to work today?"

{*they must be conveniently immune to the cold.}

"No, I worked from home today, I'm going to go in--"

"Stay HOME tomorrow, DON'T leave the house!"

"tomorrow, I kind of need to, I know, the weather IS kind of crazy. --"

"NO. It's *dangerous*. You just. work. FROM HOME. Why do they need YOU so much? They don't!"


"...And if something happens to YOU, what are THEY going to do??"

"...Well, anyway, it IS crazy to think of states where they have these kinds of temperatures and somehow they get through"

"You're not used to these temperatures! You're not some big burly guy who has fat to spare! You could freeze in the time it will take you to walk to your work from the parking lot!"

At around this time, I detected my Dad in the background; he either mocked or tried to soothe**, because she hissed, "Her temperature is reading ten degrees BELOW zero. BELOW." I listed off my extra special layering techniques to appease her; she was somewhat mollified, but reiterated the speed at which frostbite can occur.

{**probably mocked.}

"So. Just don't DO IT. Now your father may have some OTHER thing to say, but you just listen to me. Here's your father."

Horrible daughter that I was, I went into work the next day, but duly reported having survived to the day's end. The East Coast is now due for more snowstorms, hopefully the forecasted foot or so is exaggerated. But if not -- consider your options. And Then: STAY INSIDE...