If you’re in the Chicago area, you undoubtedly had the conversation today. It was impossible to avoid, no matter how hard you tried. The news was all over it, Facebook was awash with amateur weathermen, (excuse me, weatherPEOPLE,) and casual conversations on the elevator couldn’t help but veer towards it; today was the first day of possible snow. And despite all of the obvious, i.e. it’s the end of October, this tends to happen, and oh yeah, we live in Chicago why are we still surprised at any weather, EVER, we just can’t help but be surprised. It’s like Mother Nature stopped her tease of the past few weeks, which had lulled us into a false sense of security, thinking, Hey! Maybe this will be the year we actually WILL have a fall! and just dropped the temperature like 30 degrees while at the same time taking away the sun, leaving half of us standing in flip flops and dresses and the other half in gear fit for Antarctica on a bad day while we all stare at each other, uncomprehending. Seriously, if one were to come from another planet today and was forced to make assumptions based on how well we dressed for the weather, we would fail everything.
That being said, I’m trying to get over my frustration with the fact that once the temperature dips below 40 degrees social media loses its collective mind and can concentrate only on the weather outside. So I decided to embrace it; cold, snow, sleet and all, and make a list of what I’d like to accomplish during this upcoming glorious six months of slush.
Here’s something that will likely surprise no one – I am woefully lacking in dressing for the weather. You’d think, with all my bitching, that I’d pay a tiny bit more attention to all of the Facebook weather updates and manage to dress accordingly, but you would be wrong. For one, I hate wearing a coat. Hate it. I hate being hot more than pretty much anything in the world, and if walking to a bus stop and then waiting for a bus and train in below freezing temperatures for a total of 30 minutes while freezing in a long sleeve shirt means I don’t have to suffer through it being all hot and twisty and miserable for five minutes while ON the bus, I’m all for it. I tried wearing gloves, a hat, and a scarf with my normal clothes last winter so as not to give myself frostbite, but I was still smoking then and not only almost lit myself on fire, but lost at least one of these items on a daily basis. In addition, being asked 20 times a day, “Where is your COAT???” from concerned citizens and co-workers is only slightly less annoying than being strangled by that stupid coat. So this year, I bought a pair of boots, and this weekend, I am buying a coat. And I am going to spend time – ugh – shopping for said coat, so I don’t leave it hanging up every morning while I throw a DC sweatshirt over my dress pants.
I haven’t been sledding in years. The last time I consciously remember sledding, I was in high school and me and one of the boys in my class damn near killed some innocent schoolchildren while careening down the hill, Griswold-style, completely out of control. It was glorious. I love sledding. There is a big sledding hill at the park near my new apartment, and despite the negative effect the addition of forty pounds, Peppermint Schnapps, gangbangers, and diminished coordination may have on the experience, I am going this year. I don’t particularly care if it kills all of us, because we will die SLEDDING which is awesome. (Note to self – Google “sleds for uncoordinated adults.”)
Embrace the Chicago Holiday Season
Every year, I’m all, “Ugh, it’s so crowded, and who the hell wants to see stupid window decorations and lights with four hundredy billion tourists?” This year, I’m going to embrace it. You know what, Chicagoans? Especially all of you Loop workers out there? We are so, so, lucky. People take bus tours to come see our lights. People from all over the country make a point to come look at our windows and go shopping in our historic stores. People visiting will talk for years of the street performer they saw inexplicably playing the Flintstones theme song on the saxophone, (seriously, that must be the easiest song ever on the sax. EVERYONE knows it.) And us? We just brush by all, Ugh, please, people, learn to cross a street! This year, I am going to do my best to enjoy it. Please note, I said I would try. Should you see a post around December 20th entitled “OMG Why Can’t People Just Stay at Home and Shop in Their Own Damn Stores, I Just Need a Fucking Extension Cord and This Target is Not Any Different Than the One in Kansas!” do not be surprised.
Not Fall Down. In Case of Failure, Allow Self to Wallow Under Blanket for the Rest of the Day
Again in the you’re-probably-not-surprised category, each year I tend to “lose my balance,” at some point during the ice-filled, snow-covered season. Sometimes it’s because of black ice, sometimes it’s because my shoes are completely unsuitable for snow, and sometimes it’s because I’m just really bad at walking on uneven surfaces. But this year, I have fucking boots. This year, I am going to pay attention. This year, I am considering walking along with one of those wheelbarrows that spreads salt, just to be on the safe side. However, if this should fail, and I fall down in a puddle of mess on my way down the street, I am GOING BACK HOME. This year, I will not be mocked on the bus when I get on, covered only on one side with dirty slush. This year, I will not be asked, whilst trying to maintain dignity despite being soaking wet and bleeding from my hands, “What happened to you!?” from co-workers desperately trying not to burst out into laughter. I will turn around, go home, make myself a hot toddy or seven, and stay under the blanket where it is warm and dry.
What are your goals for the winter?