Monday, January 6, 2014

Uphill Both Ways

The story has had long life. I was eight or nine and sledding in Syracuse, and the temperature was twenty one below zero.

I am no longer sure that's entirely true. I'm thinking what must have happened was that the low that day was twenty one below zero, but by the time we were out there whizzing down hills, it was somewhat warmer.

Tomorrow, Maryland is expected to experience the coldest weather in decades. The high will be in the mid teens, the low will be in the single digits. More specifically, a low of 9 and a high of 15. When the low and high are that close together, I think we should just dispense with numbers and rely on a word: freezing.

I am not prepared for this. I lived eight years in New Jersey. I lived two years in upstate New York. I've therefore lived thirty years below the Mason Dixon line. It was seventy degrees two weeks ago. Two weeks ago, I wore a coat while Christmas caroling and nearly melted into a puddle of holiday goop. And tomorrow, the outside will be colder than my freezer. I could put the contents of my freezer on the deck tonight and it would all be fine. Except that it would be way too cold to actually reach outside and get anything.

I have winter coats and boots. I like accessories. I get to wear my winter coats a lot in January and February. I wore my Sorel snow boots like, four times last year. Things freeze here. We have ice storms and snow storms or the threat of ice and snow storms and school closes.

But we don't do nine degrees. I think I have to adjust my Syracuse sledding story, else people begin to expect that I know how to handle nine degree weather. I don't.

Overall, I would choose cold weather over other geological and meteorological nasties. Cold versus earthquakes? Cold. Cold versus tornadoes? Cold. Cold versus big bad wolf hurricanes? Gimme the sniffles.

But nine degrees? That is just mean.

I can't wait to hear how my children describe tomorrow to their own children. I bet they will talk about having to walk from the car to school in the bitter cold.

And I'll chime in. I'll tell my grandchildren, "It was twenty one below zero!"

Sounds about right.

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