So, to catch up those of you who haven’t been outside in days, don’t watch the news, haven’t been on Facebook in forever or haven’t sent your carrier pigeon outside only for it to never return because it froze to death…it is really darn cold outside.
It’s been said that this is Fargo’s worst winter in 15 years.* Word on the globally-warmed-street is that prior to the onset of the polar bear’s greatest problem 15-or-so years-ago all Fargo winters were like this. Let’s just say that whether or not you believe global warming is a thing, we can ALL agree to agree that you wouldn’t want to be living in Fargo back then. (Did they even have electricity here back in the early 90s?) I kid.
But anyway, believe it or not, the arctic temperatures are starting to grow on me. Yes, I still sometimes say a naughty word when I turn that corner by the Administrative Building on my way to the union and enter the “wind tunnel” that rivals the wind tunnels on State Street and East Campus Mall in Madison. Yes, last week I said to Bryan and TJ, “I don’t believe people actually willingly choose to live in Fargo.” Yes, I spend as little time outside as possible. But, the cold. It’s finally okay. Here’s the top 5 reasons why I’ve changed my outlook from hatred to toleration to a little bit of affection:
1) Solidarity, sista!
I think the fact that my beloved Wisconsin is feeling the arctic chills that I’ve been “enjoying” consistently since early December has comforted me. Dear friends and family in Wisconsin, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for suffering with me.
2) Winning the “mental game”…and hope for sunnier days!
You know how you walk somewhere during weather that makes you think you definitely got frostbite on your nose…and probably your ears too? But, then, 2-3 hours later you thaw and you give yourself that pep-talk: “Okay. It wasn’t that bad. I can walk home…orrrrr I’ll just change my plans and stay at the Newman Center/Union/etc. until tomorrow when I have to be back there.” Well, you have to leave. Unions close. Our office’s heat gets turned way down. People want you to go home sometimes to, you know, shower and put clean clothes on and stuff.
Anyway, when you build up the courage to trek back to that sweet little white house you live in and you make it home for the night knowing you will not have to leave for (insert number of) hours!!! As you can imagine all those pep talks, all those days you’re certain you’ll wind up passed out halfway home because it’s just too cold to take another step, all that time you spend adding up the minimum number of seconds you have to be outside that day… Well, it makes you stronger. Everyday you survive is more confidence in that little brain of yours that you can, just maybe, do it again. Plus, everyday survived is one day closer to that sweet relief named April. Or May.
3) Those sweet kids here in Fargs.
I may or may not offend some Badgers with this one. Now, let it be known that I spend a good chunk of time on weather.com comparing temperatures between Fargo, Wisconsin Rapids, Madison and Singapore. It’s usually a bit colder and windier here (discluding SingSing where’s its just around 100 degrees warmer everyday). I’ve also realized that I’m the. only. one. here. who. complains. about. the. weather. Before reading on, bear in mind that those in Madison are, generally, more outspoken and opinionated than the sweet NoDak dwellers. But, I’ve got to tell you, lots of people on my Facebook that go to school in the great Dairy State are whining just like me: “Why do we have school?” “We’re all going to literally die.” “I can’t believe they haven’t canceled school. I’m not going to my classes.” “Yeah, make me go outside. I’d like to see you try.” Anyway, for some reason no one does that here. They’re all like, “Oh, you postponed the talent show until tomorrow night because of the frigid temperatures? Well, I’ll stop by the Newman Center tonight anyway, even though I could safely stay in my cosy house the rest of the night.” Or there’s that student I saw who I saw as I was approaching the union that said, “Isn’t it just great out here!” Now, she was a little sarcastic, but was certainly not whining and I think she might have even been enjoying the weather. Oh, and I found out when I arrived at the union that the day before she had a fever of 103 and, you know, has bronchitis. What. The. Heck. Anyway, they all seem to like it here (or at least aren’t vocally or Facebook-ily stating their pure hatred of the weather) so I thought I could give it a try. Thanks to all those whiners in Madison for helping me realize this…it wasn’t until your complaints that I realized I wasn’t hearing any from the people who live here…and I was probably annoying the crap out of everyone here! 🙂
4) I know I’m alive
Last year, one of my current teammates (who was placed here in Fargo last year) decided to walk the 10 (15?) minutes home when it was -20 degrees…without a hat. Don’t worry T.J., I won’t tell anyone it was you. Anyway, he said he did it because he wanted to really know what it was like to be cold. While I (or anyone, probably) wouldn’t condone his behavior, it’s kind of nice to be that cold because you just know you’re alive.
5) I’m not made for this world
The best reason I came up with for beginning to enjoy this weather is that it reminds me that I’m made for heaven. Obviously these severe temperatures are a result of the fall (my opinion…not dogma). I don’t believe the All-Loving God that our Creator is would willingly subject people to this brutality in the Garden of Eden. So, when I’m outside I just replay one simple sentence in my head while I take purposeful and eager steps toward my destination: Someday I will be in heaven and will never have to suffer negative temperatures again.
***BONUS NUMBER 6***
6) I haven’t been sick in forever.
Usually I’m pretty consistently sick. You know, a cold every month. But, I haven’t been sick since September. I attribute that solely to the fact that nothing–not even germs or bacteria or whatever else might make you sick–can survive in Fargo.**
I’d like to wrap this post up with a toast:
To Canada and everyone from the pre-turn-the-thermostat-up-to-70-whenever-you-want days, I commend you for somehow surviving. My hat is tipped to thee.
*How official is that information? Well, the volunteer coordinator at the Great Plains Food Bank that I went to with a bunch of students on Saturday to work at told us this info. She is a young twenty-something who moved to Fargo in May after living most of her life in some tropic location…Florida, I think? Anyway, you can trust my source…she has sooo much experience with Fargo winters. (Actually, after she said that, many native Fargoans (Fargoians? Fargans? Fargonites?…) corroborated.
**Yes, I know that’s not exactly science. In fact, all of my teammates have been sick in the past week and a half. Here’s hoping that if I just believe hard enough the cold will continue to kill anything that threatens my health.