Tuesday, January 19, 2016

8 Things I'd Forgotten About Snow


It snows every year, & yet, every time it starts up again, I realize just how much I've forgotten about what winter is like. Warm weather has a way of erasing the realities of the cold from our minds, which means that it's always a bit of a rude awakening the first morning you wake up to half a foot of the fluffy stuff outside your door, covering your car, mucking up the roads, etc.

Though I'm a native Northeast Ohioan, this is my first winter in the Snowbelt, & I confess that I've been a little bit nervous about whether I can handle the severity of a Cleveland snowy season. Thankfully, we got a slow start here in the CLE this year (thank, El NiƱo/sorry, climate change), but in the last week, winter officially arrived. It's been snowing pretty much nonstop for the last few days, which has triggered plenty of almost-forgotten knowledge about what its like to live in a winter wonderland. In the words of the immortal Celine Dion, "It's all coming back, it's all coming back to me now...."

1. Snow is wet. 

"Duh," right? I know. But it's easy to forget that heavy snow falling from the skies is akin to heavy rain falling from the skies, in terms of what happens when it hits your body. I loathe the practice of carrying an umbrella in the snow, but I understand why people do it. That shit is really wet, y'all. Fortunately, I have a thousand hats & also never really have to leave my house.

2. Snow is colder than I think it is.

Also duh. For whatever reason, though, I have this tendency to scrape off my car without putting on my gloves because I always think, "Oh, this will only take a second." But that's not true because it takes, like, five minutes, minimum, to extract my car from the snow, & five minutes is plenty of time for my hands to freeze solid after all the snow I'm brushing off my windshield falls onto them.

3. Snow severely limits my shoe options.

Who wants to wear duck boots everywhere? Not me (even though my duck boots are pretty cute - they have pink laces!) Unfortunately, when the snow is coming down - or already down - there aren't a whole lot of options in terms of footwear that can handle the elements. When the choices are duck boots or literal cold feet, I'll pick duck boots every time.

4. Shoveling snow is the worst.

If I'm being honest - & honestly spoiled - I've never really had to shovel. I helped my mom sometimes, but last year, I convinced her to let me pay some neighborhood kids to do it, & before that, I lived in company-managed buildings where someone else did all the snow removal. Now, I live in a two-building complex with exactly six other residents, total, & it's on us to clear our own damn snow. Which is grueling. I'm trying to see it as a workout, but it's not really working out.

5. Snow makes for expensive gas bills.

Fine, this isn't about snow, in particular, just about the cold, but file this one, too, under Stuff I've Never Had to Deal With. My utilities have always been included in my rent, but that's not the case here - & this month, my gas bill was $108 to heat my little apartment! Maybe Cleveland rent is cheap because it's so expensive to live here in the winter?! Remind me never to buy a whole damn house.

6. It makes everything move more slowly.

Need to leave for work in the morning? Gotta wake up 15 minutes earlier to scrape off the car. Need to be somewhere in a hurry? Not likely, unless you're willing to wear gloves just to touch the steering wheel & to breathe puffs of cold air as the car heats up on the go. Need to drive someplace off the beaten (plowed) path? Good luck navigating those slushy roads above 25 mph.

7. It doesn't bother me that much.

Confession: Despite all these complaints, I actually kind of like the cold & the snow. I know this is not necessarily a popular opinion, even here in Northeast Ohio, where plenty of people openly loathe winter, dread its arrival, & pray for its speedy departure - but not me. I've always been a fan of winter. The cold air makes me feel alive, tromping through inches of snow to go about daily life makes me feel hardy...

8. And it makes me feel weirdly proud to be an Ohioan.

Sometimes I look around at snow-covered Cleveland - like last night, when I made my way through the grocery store parking lot, snow crunching beneath my duck boots, ice clinging to the handle of my shopping cart, wind whipping my face - & I can't help but laugh. Even half this amount of snow would've shut D.C. down for at least a day! It would've wiped grocery stores out & canceled school & sent people into a panicked, multiple-sweater-wearing frenzy of doom. But not here; never here. Here, we suck it up & life goes on because when you live in Northeast Ohio, winter is always coming.


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