So very, very cold.
Cold that strikes at your bones.
Cold that makes you forget warmth even exists.
Cold that defies metaphor and comparison and leaves only itself.
Cold cold cold cold cold.
I can’t lie — as a Georgia native, I prefer the extreme cold to the extreme heat. Atlanta thinks nothing of serving up weeks or even months at a time with highs in the 90s, where you can sweat from the simple act of opening your eyes in the morning. I should be desensitized to that by now, but I’m not, and by the looks of things, being 37 already, I’m not going to get any less sensitive to it from here on in.
So when I welcome winter every year, it’s genuine. I love Winter.
Of course, I love the typical Atlanta version of it, which is to say the temperature will dip below freezing maybe three or four times, and if you’re really really lucky, you’ll get a dusting of snow on one of those days, and bang-o, we’re out of school for a day or two while the Only Snow Plow in Atlanta makes its rounds. Needless to say, we’re not prepared for the arctic cone of destruction that’s engulfed the city for the past several days, and that threatens the next several more. They’re calling it a “winter bomb cyclone.” Seriously!
In our previous house, we had cold temps burst the pipes on at least two occasions and had scares on a couple more. Every time the mercury drops, I get antsy. Every faucet in our current house is left to drip overnight. Then the exterior lines froze, so I got out there in the 25-degree light of day (help!) with my wife’s hair dryer to coax a feeble stream of frigid water out of them and get them dripping again before scurrying back inside to huddle under a dozen comforters.
My dad sent over these weird-looking insulators — kinda looks like a jockstrap without the strap, or an oversized cyborg earmuff — to cover those faucets. “Don’t even need to drip ‘em with these things!”
But I trust no gadget to save me. In my nightmares, I hear the Chooom-HSSSSSSSSSSSSS of a ruptured water line spilling its guts into the walls. Even in the summertime. At this rate those things may keep dripping until march, faucet-jockstraps and all.
The cold also poses unique challenges for the runner. Summer is easy — wear the least amount of clothing that you can stand or that’s legal (whichever comes first) and go sweat until you dry out regardless. Winter? The trick is layers, but it can be overdone. Too little, and your tauntauns will freeze before you reach the first marker. Too much, and you sweat, and start shedding layers, and then your tauntauns freeze before you reach the second marker. Wind chill must be calculated. Amount of sunlight has to be considered. You could have degrees in maths (okay I’m not British but I love how they say “maths” when they mean “math”) and meteorology and still end up with frozen tauntauns on a quick 3-miler.
At least partially as a joke, I don’t doubt, my wife got me a full-fledged balaclava. A balaclava, for the uninitiated, has surprisingly little to do with puff pastry and a lot more to do with looking like a serious fargoing ninja. Except that the one she got me is bright red. Which makes me less “ninja” and more “what the hell is that lunatic running in sub-freezing temperatures wearing on his head — he’ll scare the deer”. I haven’t reached for it yet, but if the current “winter bomb cyclone” (I still can’t believe that’s really what they’re calling it!) persists, it won’t be long.
We’re back to work today, and not a day too soon, because if we had to keep those two — I’ll censor what I was about to call them — adorable little angels inside our house for one more day? (It’s too cold out there, play inside, I don’t know why it’s so cold just play, why are you hitting each other, put the cat down, kitchen tools are not toys, PLEASE STOP CRYING [that last is for my wife after many hours of the former].)
I might have donned my balaclava and my cyborg earmuffs and headed out for the third marker. And then later, been found like this:
You know. Just …