I’ve had enough of winter 2019, particularly February’s massive dump of snow, ice, bleak sunless days and rearfreezing weather—thank you (no, thank you). I get depressed seeing huge snow piles abound. Homeowners’ arms are sore from shoveling snow and tugging at their poor dogs to go outside in the bitter morning cold.
Minnesotans are beginning to think we’re living in some sort of Midwest Matrix/ Groundhog Day Movie—The Winter That Just Won’t End. We forlornly sing, “There’s got to be a morning after.” Our sun-deprived skin ghostpale, our eyes and facial expressions looking scarily devoid of hope and life. Zombies look better. No, it’s not quite the Poseidon Adventure, but it’s not much better either. We reassure ourselves and others that yes, winter surely will end soon, but our voices lack conviction…it’s pathetic.
I recall actress Charlize Theron commenting that she understood, after staying on the Iron Range to film North Country, why Iron Rangers speak as they do (her most difficult accent to learn), “Because they’re cold.” Lucky for her she doesn’t have to trek to “North Country” now.
I scream at God, “Who actually likes this?” Only businesses making mega bucks from fixing ice dams or selling thermal underwear and down coats, I suppose. Maybe agoraphobics don’t mind—they get to stay inside. (That’s how bad off I am—I’m envying agoraphobics now.)
Even winter sports jocks are staying indoors, getting fat like the rest of us. Overeating carbs, slurping hot chocolate and hot toddies and being couch potatoes. When panhandlers aren’t to be seen in downtown Minneapolis—not even by Target—you know it’s bad outside. And Tower-Soudan and Embarrass residents, instead of arguing/bragging that they each sport the coldest spot in the state, are just plain tired of it, even mentioning how nice it would be to move south!
Freezing at midnight mass on Christmas Eve is one thing—freezing for the entire months of January, February and part of March is another— even for Iron Rangers. Jumping the car repeatedly and ice fishing in sub-zero temperatures begin to lose their luster after awhile.
In Minnesota, there have been so many school snow days announced, the state may pass a law so they don’t have to make them all up into the summer. We used to love getting out of school for snow days. It was sublime. But it’s so common this winter, and the weather so bad, Minnesotan kids actually whine, “Not another snow day—I want to go to school!” (Boy, do we want them to go to school too.)
Even the TV weather people, who usually are truly giddy that everyone’s tuning in to hear how bad the weather and traffic and wind chills actually are, are getting jaded. I swear I heard Ken Barlow on Channel 5 snarl under his breath, “Man, is this s—t getting old!”
I used to envy Channel 11’s ever-cheerful, fashionable Belinda Jenson as she sauntered to the outside weather roof to make her dire report—now I feel sorry for, even pray for her. WCCO’s Chris Shaffer is cheerfully hanging on as he chirps that we’ve broken the record for the snowiest February ever. Well, give him time; if things don’t improve soon even he’ll be snarling—perhaps drinking— soon.
Saddest of all in this, one downsizes all his/her dreams and hopes in levels parallel with the deteriorating weather conditions. We used to think about finishing our Ph.D. thesis, starting to write that song for Lady Gaga, “More Shallow,” snagging that hot guy/girl, maybe just de-cluttering the closets… well, no more. Everything is about surviving and getting out of the cold.
We’re just grateful to make it to work, walking with panic-filled eyes, penguinlike, on slippery sidewalks and parking lots, without incurring a broken bone or severe head injury. That we didn’t get hit by a car when the bus let people off right on the highway by Byerlys because there are so many snow piles around. That we got to work without spinning out on black ice, much less getting stuck in a ditch. Or that our cars actually started after being out in the cold for a few hours. We hear the motor— hallelujah! Truly, what else matters anymore?
Now we go straight home every single day and head into a hot bath. Then, with the limited energy that remains, watch some TV and cringe and moan as the weather report is aired, “Wind chill of minus 30 below tomorrow, again!” Maybe imbibe a few drinks then hide under the covers in bed until it’s time to awaken early next morning….to more of this same winter @#is5@#!
We cheer up a bit to hear on TV that the temperature will be in the 20s or 30s for a few days, but get deflated and defeated all over again because another snow storm is likely coming this weekend.
No more snow. No more ice. No more storms. No more slippery sidewalks and roads. We can’t go on like this! Somebody tell me this is just a bad dream, that we will escape this Minnesota Winter Matrix. Somebody put us to sleep until April, please—it’ll be over by then, right?
Right? The morning after, just around the bend?
Oh, I forgot—this is Minnesota. Don’t be too sure. Aarrrrgh!
Stephanie Sarich grew up in Hutter (rural Gilbert), graduated from Gilbert High School, and now lives in St. Louis