Recently, after reading a nice person’s blog where the writer wants everyone to quit whining about winter, I commented about my loathing of all things winter. That was wrong of me. It was wrong in that I should have put those comments in my own blog, where I could sufficiently and at enough length display my vehement hatred for the season of death.
That’s right–that’s what this shithole of a time of year is–the season of death. All life is frozen, driven indoor, or dormant and hidden under a hideous blanket of white SHIT. Everything, everywhere is white, white, white. The only color contrast is the mud and muck that the snow turns into on roads.
Snow looks good on Christmas cards, on evergreen trees, along mountain streams, in the foothills of mountains, not in the flatlands, not in towns, not on plowed fields, not in parking lots, not on streets, not covering everything. Here it’s just unbroken white. And cold, so very cold. This winter has been beastly, actual temps of 15-20 degrees below zero F, with wind chills much lower than that, with highs some days of 0 F, if we’re lucky.
Along with the cold, it snows nearly every day, it seems, though luckily we haven’t had a huge total accumulation. So far, anyway. But the beastliest thing about this winter, the most ass-suckingly crappy beyond crappy, part of this wretched crap, is the wind. It’s often windy around here, but this winter, well, let’s just say that if there were ever more than a half inch of snow with any of these winds, there’d be 2 or 3 blizzard days a week this January. As it is there’s been one a week, just because people aren’t stupid enough to send school busses out to maybe get stranded in a “ground blizzard” where the winds have been clocked at 60-70 miles an hour. What’s the wind speed where tropical storms change to hurricanes? Let’s look it up, shall we?
Okay, they want a hurricane to have at least 74 mph sustained winds, so we’ve been “only” at “strong tropical storm” strength of sustained winds, and maybe just isolated spots of hurricane-strength gusts. I guess I should have manned up and gone for long dreamy walks last Tuesday and Thursday then, when sustained winds were around 35-50 miles an hour. I’m not the only one who overslept a week ago today when the “Arctic Clipper” wind came through at about 3 am and woke everyone up by sounding like someone was trying to tear the siding off our houses. Combined with the cold, the official wind chill has been at “freeze-your-nuts-off” degrees below zero. (Fun fact: 40 below zero Fahrenheit and 40 below zero Centigrade are the same damn temperature–stupidly cold, Russian-winter-stops-the-entire-Nazi-Army cold, drive-the-polar-bears-into-the-igloos cold, the-look-your-wife-gives-you-when-you-come-home-drunk-three-hours-late cold. Yup, that cold.)
Now that we’ve established that this winter has actually been a winter, let’s examine the “pro-winter” arguments, so that we can properly hate them. Yes, I have a mean side; when they speak, on the evening news, about some criminal who has committed an unspeakable crime, I always say to the TV, “Show his face so that we know who to hate.” Let the despising begin.
Argument number 1: “Winter kills bugs.” I don’t hate this one, actually, and not just because one of “the cool kids”, H.E. Ellis, mentioned it me at one time. I look forward to the glorious shutting-the-fuck-up of the mosquitoes, flies, and gnats in the fall. This is the only time the “season of death” thing is a good thing. It just comes at too high a price. The bugs will leave just as well at 30 above as they will at 20 below.
Argument number 2: “One can go skiing or snowboarding.” If, that is, one has a job that pays more than one probably deserves, or if one was born with a silver spoon up one’s ass, and if one lives close enough to mountains or doesn’t mind traffic jams, on weekend days, in the middle of nowhere on the way to overcrowded resorts. Count me seriously out.
Argument number 3: “Oh, it’s so wonderful to have the 4 seasons”. That would be fine if the seasons weren’t: 5 months of winter starting sometime in November, a half-assed spring, mostly windy and rainy, which lasts maybe 2 months from sometime in April to early June (with luck, that is; it snowed most of last April and even in early May here last year), followed by usually about 3 months of summer, then, maybe, 2 months of the best season, fall. Part of what makes winter the homely, slow-moving, clumsy, red-headed stepchild of the seasons is that it insists upon itself for such a huge chunk of the year. Does summer drop a curtain of sameness on the ground for 5 months, that won’t leave because white reflects sunlight and because a big blanket of snow is just like having a big giant ice cube insulating ground and air, so that it, seemingly, NEVER FUCKING MELTS, NEVER WARMS UP, till finally sometime in April or May the sun gets high enough in the sky that it HAS to melt? No, it doesn’t. Yes, people complain about it being 90-100 degrees or more for 100 days straight in Dallas or Oklahoma City, but I ask you: Why would anyone live in Dallas or Oklahoma City in the first place? Don’t get excited; I’m sure a lot of nice people live there. One thing’s for sure–you won’t freeze to death there in summer.
Argument Number 4: “You can always put more layers on, but in summer you can only take so much off.” This is the argument that makes me want to become a spree killer. It is parroted with nearly the same exact words, by everyone who says it. Let’s dissect this one, shall we? Oh, yeah, that’s right, I remember last Friday night, when it was below zero out, when the neighbors and I put on a whole bunch of layers and sat in front of their firepit in their backyard and drank beers for 3 hours and just sat there and enjoyed life. Or wait, that never happened and never will. We wouldn’t have been able to find the firepit under the snow piles in the first place. A person can dress like Nanook of the North in order to not shiver while quickly walking from house to car, from car to work, or maybe, just maybe, dress like an Eskimo to be outside the few days a winter when the temp is above 20 F, to sled for a while with the kids (the only people who should enjoy winter), or maybe if it magically gets above freezing one can make a snowman. But, as for “adding more layers” and just being, just BEING, a living thing enjoying being outdoors, no, it’s not happening on any regular basis. A person throws an assload of layers on to survive in winter and to make it LESS horrible.
In summer, yes, I hide away from 90+ degree weather, with 100 degree+ “heat index” temps, and bask in the glory of air conditioning like everyone else. But in the evenings, on Friday or Saturday nights, I can sit outside, slather on the bug spray, wear next-to-nothing, drink a cold drink, and just SIT there, outside, basking in the freedom of not shivering. I can sit with the neighbors and laugh and insult and joke with them. I can walk to my car, any time, get in, start the engine, and drive off, not scrape windows for 5 minutes, slip and slide on the roads, if they’re passable at all. Which brings me to the final and most maddening pro-winter argument…
Argument Number 5: “I love the snow; it’s such a peaceful blanket just drifting down.” You know, even I can appreciate the beauty of a slow fall of big fat snowflakes, IF it melts the next day. I usually hear this one from people who don’t have to move snow, and who apparently don’t have to commute on snow-covered roads. So the hassles of this “storybook, Christmas-Eve snowfall” are lost on these folks; moving snow and fighting icy roads are other people’s problems. Yes, people need to be cautious and use good winter driving skills, but even skilled drivers can be caught off-guard by sudden unexpected ice patches, by snowdrifts where there usually aren’t any, because the wind decided to do some new freaky thing and leave snow drifts where there never are any. The more careless or the more unlucky, or careless and unlucky, drivers end up in ditches, interstate medians, or the morgue. Not too many mudslides ever kill people on the roads in the summer here in the flatlands. Accidents happen in spring, summer, and fall, drunks drive off bridges, but the only weather-related non-winter traffic accidents happen to the stunningly stupid, those who drive too close to tornadoes.
Winter is fun for kids, the few times they can go out without freezing their cute, sweet little noses off, the few times they can be dragged from in front of a TV, computer, or mobile phone screen. It’s fun to see the enjoyment in their eyes when they tromp through snow. It’s fun to sled or skate with your kids. But, as one ages, winter becomes just a big giant hassle. And a giant stinking godawful heat bill.
Things you can do outside in winter:
–Slide down a hill if you have a hill nearby or can afford to get to one.
–Slide across country on snowshoes or cross-country skis.
–Make snowmen on the few days when it’s warm enough for snow to stick together.
–Ice fish or ice skate on frozen lakes.
–Stand outside with the neighbor for 5 minutes and drink beer, if it’s warm enough.
Things you can do outside in spring, summer, fall:
–Strip down to almost nothing, put on Gold Bond medicated powder in “the naughty areas”, and…
–Walk, freely, without falling or slogging through snow.
–Run without falling.
–Golf (if you have no self-respect at all).
–Fish from shore.
–Fish from a boat.
–Play yard games.
–Lie down on the ground and look up at the sky.
–Watch thunderstorms roll in.
–Drink in backyards for hours upon hours with the neighbors.
–Paint the faded outside of your house.
–See the nice shapes people have when they’re not bundled up like Eskimos.
–Just get in your car and drive, all casual and junk.
–Stroll from car to house, from car to work, from car to store, not be all hunkered down to keep from having a frozen face.
–Actually pick your feet up when walking, not live in fear of slipping and falling on your ass.
–Have a campfire with a nice, warm, dry place to sit.
–Listen to the few birds that have a nice, pretty, relaxing birdsong, and try to ignore the homely little ones that chirp incessantly.
–Walk out on the front steps, in your bathrobe, on the 4th of July, and hang up the flag.
–Zillions of other peaceful, relaxing or fun things.
In conclusion, winter can go screw itself. Summer, even if it means “ball-soup” sweat, mosquito-hell, and too many views of too many cottage-cheese thighs, is still summer. The season of life.
What else–Hoyt Axton’s song done by Steppenwolf of course. “He said he wanted Heaven, but prayin’ was too slow, so he bought a one-way ticket on an airline made of snow”–“Snowblind Friend”:
(Video shortsightedly blocked by UMG)