Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hatred of Minnesota Winters

Growing up as a nomad, I've learned to adjust to many different types of weather, cultures, and people. My father moved us all around the country before he finally settled on bounding us to the coldest state of all- Minnesota.

I won't say that Minnesota is a horrible state. There are many good things about the state. Minneapolis was ranked the most literate city for 2008. St. Paul took 4th. We house the mega mall and plenty of joyful shoppers from around the world. We pride ourselves on hosting two large marathons, The Twin Cities Marathon and Grandma's Marathon. We border Canada and the Great Lakes. And as much as we hate it when people from other states ask us to "repeat Minn-eh-soooh-tah"; we know that you can always find someone with a friendly "Northern Accent" within miles of our front doors.

But along with good always comes a little bit of bad. Or maybe an entire winter of bad.
As usual, I woke up this morning and turned on the news. I like to see the weather in the morning so I can get the bad news out of the way at the start. I glanced to the bottom of the screen and noticed that it was -2. "Okay...I guess I'll be wearing my Cuddleduds today then." Soon enough the weather guy came on to give me his report. "Today, the wind chill isn't so bad at -15. You'll still want to bundle up though." NOT SO BAD? Only in Minnesota will a weather guy say we are doing "not so bad" at -15 degree windchill.

I have come to the realization that I'm stuck here, at least for now. Thus, I do "bundle up" before I leave the house or work. Even if it is below zero. Yesterday I'm pretty sure we were sitting somewhere around 10 degrees when I left work. Naturally, I put the hood to my Columbia coat over my head and zipped it up all the way. My eyes are pretty much the only part of me that you see when it is anything below 20 degrees. Most Minnesotans find this funny. Yesterday, I was walking along with my parka-like outfit when a lady passed me on the sidewalk. She had this smirk on her face that said "You must not be a Minnesotan" It is like they can read you from afar. Another time, I was entering my work building following a 10 minute walk from my car and someone just started laughing at me. Laughing. And that day it was -10 with a -20 degree windchill.

Apparently my body doesn't react well to Minnesota winters either. My skin turns into an alligator with papercuts during winter.

And the roads. Don't even get me started about the roads. Near the start of our cold spell, we also got piled with tons of snow. I believe there was an entire week of 2-3 hour drives to work and home. My drive should normally only be 25 minutes at the most, not 2 hours. What does one do in a car for 2 hours on slippery roads moving like a tortuise? I think they go out of their mind. Oh and when it isn't rush hour, and you are moving at a decent speed, you still have to go slow and clench the steering wheel in fear that you will end up in the ditch like the other 50 cars you've seen along your route. I think all Minnesotans must have a high level of stress from being behind the wheel.

Oh and then you get those Minnesotans who walk slower in the winter. In cold weather, I walk/run to my destination to avoid being outside any longer than neccesary. Sometimes, I end up on a sidewalk behind someone who clearly doesn't think in the same way. Last week, I was following behind a lady who was walking extremely slow. When she realized I was behind her, she said, "I'm sorry. I didn't realize there was someone behind me. It's so cold outside, I don't want to move very fast." I guess I could see your reasoning there. But the faster you move, the faster you get inside right??

Minnesotans LOVE winter sports. There are actually people in Minnesota who favor winter among other seasons. They get out their snow toys and go about their cheery snow business. This past winter, I decided to join in the fun by taking my boyfriend on a ski trip. We went up to Duluth's Spirit Mountain and spent the day skiing down the slopes. By the time that we left the slopes, we were icicles. Frozen to the bone. And Minnesotans thrive on this weather with their snowmobiles, hockey sticks, ice fishing huts, ice skates and ice castles.

Ice castles. That is one of the amazing wonders of Minnesota winters. I will concede, I do enjoy looking at the ice castle and ice sculptures from afar. St.Paul hosts the "winter carnival" every year. Whenever they sum up enough money, they build a large ice castle (not every year) and allow people to come inside and tour the castle. I thought this was a grand idea, until one day I actually stood in line to go through the castle. The line that night was at least an hour long. It was freezing cold outside and I was completely numb by the time we actually entered the castle. Inside, it was basically a big open space where people were dancing and a few sculptures were to be seen. I think the outside of the castle is much more interesting with the way that it lights up the night sky. Driving by now suits me well. I don't find it neccesary to stand in the cold line to see the inside.

Among all the bad, there is one good thing about Minnesota winters. You always know that spring is the next season on the way. Even if it doesn't come until June.

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