The Tragic Optimist

warmth makes me stupid

This was a really cold January.  For the first 30 days, we never got above freezing.  It’s probably a (sad) testament to a person’s adaptability that when I first hear this, I thought that didn’t sound too strange.  But I spent some quality time searching through NOAA’s climate records for Minneapolis, and it appears that it’s been 30 years, since a January has gone so many days with no thaw. Our average temperature for the month was 8°.  Fahrenheit.  We got below 0° F on more than half of the days in Jan (16), and below -10°F on 5 days.  All of which make it a colder than normal January, though not record setting.  January of 1875 sounds brutal.

And on the 31st day, there was thaw.  We got up to 46°.  It was glorious.  We tied for a record high for that day.  People were out walking around without heavy scarves or hats.  There were smiles all around.  Dogs were giddy.  Children actually got to go outside.  As hard as the winters here can be, the first warm (-ish) day really is a sight to behold.

But it makes us stupid.  The next day was still relatively warm.  It got up to the low 30s.  Then came Monday.  It started out not so bad: 20°.  But that was the highest, and that was at 1 AM.  It dropped from there.  By the time normal people would be awake and going through their day, it was down to 5° and it didn’t get above 8° the rest of the day.  But we were all still living in the weekend.  I wore my lighter-weight pants, chose my second warmest coat, grabbed my light scarf and hat on the way out the door, wore unlined boots.  Basically, I dressed for the low 20s.  And I wasn’t alone.  Everyone I talked to said the same thing:  They forgot a scarf, or long underwear, or chose lighter-weight clothes.  We were all miserable and freezing. I’ve come to the conclusion that Minnesotans aren’t somehow hardier, we just know how to dress for the cold.  Until the thaw comes and makes us stupid.

Oh yeah, I forgot my scarf today.


1 Comment

  1. ohh i hate being cold! but I know every winter (6 months of it!) there will be coldness, so I keep extra scrafs and hats and mitts in my car and backpack! I have just got caught unprepared too many times!

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