Posted by : Stephanie | January 13, 2015
Before I went to Oklahoma, I was shivering here in the 49 degree San Francisco weather. Meanwhile my partner Porcupine was suffering in the abstract in Minnesota from something he called the cold (actually the national news called it the cold; Porky was nonplussed). I’d read enough about it to yell at him to get inside when on our important PorcupineSundae biz convos I’d realize he was outside in a shirt smoking while on the phone with me. I knew a thing of frostbite. And I knew he was way too
psychotic stubborn to wear a jacket. That would be admitting defeat! Or a circulatory system regulated by a heart!
Here’s his cool winter blog…
But it was still theoretical for me, this freeze. Like watching news reports on the Arctic air charts engulfing northern states in Baskin-Robbins’ Daiquiri Ice blue with the California sun streaming through my windows. I even watched the movie Snowpiercer on the plane with that infinite post-apocalyptic train crashing through avalanches with detached west coast abandon!
Until Tulsa. I looked at my weather app. It was going to be 8. What was that? So I smartly donned the boots I wore covering Alaska’s great dog sled race, the Iditarod. It had been 15 in Anchorage on that trip and I’d been fine. And I brought my “heavy” coat, a flattering black slim cut number with an outer windproof shell and a yummy inner cashmere lining. Totes packable.
Holy shit I froze my face off. That winter coat was nothing against the chill in the air and the punishing wind that whipped icey air down from the very depths of Pluto (still a planet to me) and slapped my defenseless rosy cheeks. I ran. Oh how I ran from the car to wherever we were going. Some ladies had fur. I totally get fur now. Sorry not sorry (keep your hairshirt on I don’t own any fur).
Vegas had been frigid too. But I’d stayed in the casino the whole time or huddled under a heat lamp in a taxi line ordering the rugby-built guy behind me to hold me tight. Which he did. With slightly wandering hands. But you know what? It beat feeling cold.
Vegas was where I dipped my toe in the cold (20s at its worst); Tulsa was where I learned the true meaning of Christmas. Kidding I totally don’t understand Christmas. It’s where I learned what cold was. But here’s the hilarious thing. Our family in our maternal line runs hot, especially my mom. My sister and I are nocturnally hot, which manifests at like 3am. One night the heat in the house was on so high that Corey and I, sleeping in our little twin beds in the room upstairs, opened our window to the 8 degree relief. My cold-running dad calls us Eskimos. We do it in Texas too when we visit in winter and dad cranks the thermostat up to 80.
That happened for the last time on the first night. The chill crept into my body and wouldn’t leave. I shivered the next four days and nights. And fought constantly with my mom who, kid you not, drove us around running errands with the window down. Porcupine-style! Corey was steaming that I wouldn’t let her open the bedroom window anymore. How would Peter Pan get in now? My other bitter complaint about the cold was the dryness. My nose was bleeding, skin peeling, and worst of all, I was getting electro-shock therapy whenever my flesh encountered any other object, which was all the dang time. Zing getting out of the car! Zing passing the salt! Zing hugging you goodbye! Zing! Zing again!
My concerns were now pneumonia and the flu. I’m not a hypochondriac; I’m just hyper aware of potential medical perils. The flu was in the middle of the country and had not made it to the west coast yet, so I didn’t want to be the first person in California to get it, or be patient zero bringing it back with the box of peanut butter and jelly Glacier chocolates I like so much.
Meanwhile, in my The Simpsons Tapped Out game (pictured above), the town I painstakingly and beautifully built is covered in winter update snow. Now that I kind of get it, I feel guilty for forcing my characters to complete outdoor tasks for in-game money, like little Lisa in her small orange dress attending a Mensa meeting in an uninsulated gazebo. Will they all get pneumonia? Will the one hospital be big enough for everyone? Will there be unfortunate overflow to scarily unsound Dr. Nick?
Oh PS re: the snow thing in real life– It was supposed to coat the Las Vegas Strip for the first time in thirty years while I was there, but unlike a craps table, no dice. Then the day I flew out of Tulsa, it was again forecast to snow. But like the bar mitzvah I was there for, no bacon. So I guess yet another year will pass me by without the white powder!! Haha you can (and should) take that however you like.
Now I’m back in San Francisco shoveling through the sun-warmed streets with the bravery of a US Marine in the 50-degree weather. Thanks for the winter bootcamp, cold places! G’bye, I’m gonna go read a book in the park now! It’s 66 out…
Tags: Alaska, Arctic, below zero, cold, freezing, Frozen, Glacier, Glacier Chocolates, Iditarod, Las Vegas, minneapolis, minnesota, polar, polar vortex, s5, snow, storm, tapped out, the simpsons, the simpsons tapped out, tsto, Tulsa, Vegas, Winter