Catching a crowded bus one frosty morning a few weeks back when Winter turned it up a notch, I was clinging on to a straphanger standing in front of a women who was sitting and staring out the window with dead eyes possibly full of dread about walking anywhere. Outside echoed a Siberian polar desert where tree branches had surrendered to the hawkish conditions, snow blanketed the nature strips and footpaths were caked in ice. She was thickly dressed, coiled in layers like a hot dog wrapped into a duvet. Her face looked like it had been shoved into her clothes. The bus was dead silent and it appeared everyone else was in some sort of melancholy Winterdoom coma. My bag was on my shoulder and at one point it fell and clipped the woman in front of me, waking her from whatever apocalyptic dream state she was in.
“Hey, what the.. watch it pal!!” she yelled.
“Sorry about that,” I replied.
“Yeah, well, just get your bag off-a me!” she snapped.
“Ok. Relax!,” I said.
“Don’t tell me to relax!!!” she said.
Angered, but not wanting to start a royal rumble with this insane lady, I moved away from my spot and thankfully the woman got off two stops later. When she took her last step off the bus it prompted a comment from a fellow commuter: “Don’t worry, it must be the long Winter”, referring to the woman’s conniption fit.
I, like most Canadians, have been worn down by the Siberianesque Winter we’ve had to endure. We’ve been worn down all the way to the soles of our shoes. Our heads now sit on top of our shoes and we are all vying for a spot in the 25 weirdest Gif’s all of time because we all look ridiculous. I get it, Winters are Winters. They are meant to be cold. But this one has been soul-sucking: pounding snowstorms, Polar Vortexes, relentless deep freezes, frost quakes, prolonged ferocious wintry conditions and arctic winds. At times this Winter has resembled haunting conditions from beyond our own atmosphere: the Methane Fog from Saturn’s icy moon of Titan and its Diamond rain bursts; the heavy metal frost from Venus and the freak winds of Neptune. All this to say, it’s any wonder that this Winter catapulted society into a jamboree of loathing from what I’ve gathered.
Winter, normally, starts out all lovely and cheery. Friends sip nog under December’s powdery snowfall at year-end parties, snowbunnies get giddy for that first ski of the season and country towns look like bloodless snowglobes. That then leads to sweeping statements like “Winters aren’t as bad as people make out!” and “Who could ever hate snow?! We are the lucky ones!?!” By early February we turn. We turn into a rabid mess and wonder how much longer we can go on for, living in a disheveled, wet, numbing state. Shoveling the driveway turns from “Oh, this will be great exercise” to stabbing the snow with your shovel crying “How many more days of this?!!”. One thing we all crave is for Winter to be short or at the very least punctual: come (if at all) but at least leave on time.
Spring is that religious moment where we peel off our Winter layers, the birds find their sharp-toned voices and the sun melts our pastey white leathery skin back into it’s original topography. So when Winter hangs around longer than expected (or starts earlier than we’d like) we tend to lose patience and “the loathing” sets in: we loathe getting up in the morning; we loathe weather predictions and forecasts; we loathe made up storm cell names like SuperMegaUltraStorm!; we loathe co-workers that come to work sick and in turn make you sick; we loathe commuting; and we also loathe how long Winters limit our movement around city streets and impacts our decision making.
There are some things that we can take away from long Winters though. It tests your mettle against how long you can hibernate for which can be a good test if you have a cupboard full of food; a bad test if that’s not the case and you’re left eating celery and peanut butter most of the time because outside is every part of the definition of bullshit. During long Winters you forge strong and long-lasting relationships with your pizza delivery guy. You overhear couples arguing over who will walk the dog in -20 weather that is coupled with whipping winds. One evening I went to take the garbage out and saw my neighbour puffing on some weed by the back door wearing his girlfriend’s pink boots to which he replied “I got lazy bro”.
Long Winters make us wild. You hear people yelling at the sky in the streets for no reason – long Winters make people snap. Long Winters make us burn through recorded T.V content faster so we end up watching shows called Sean Saves the World, Survivorman Bigfoot Part 1 and The Best of Cops. Once you start watching those shows you then realize boredom has set in and Winter is becoming one long shit show. Some days are spent by the window watching delivery vans do their job while you pine for Spring. Sometimes you forget how to act as a human after days of hibernation. Sunlight is strangely blinding and conversations suddenly seem foreign. All because you had to avoid the harshness of a freezing longish Winter.
The good news: Spring weather is only days away and this long Winter will be just a floating sad watery memory. The bad news: Winter is nine months away and is coming for us. Let’s hope the next one is not the kind of Winter that makes everyone loathe everything.
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