Winter in Chicago is no picnic. Even the milder winters – with less snow than usual or fewer sub-zero days — are rough. We had that nicer type of winter last year, not this year.
Winter starts early in Chicago and lasts longer than anyone wants. There are agonizing days stretching into weeks of super cold weather; we get lots of snow dumped on us which quickly turns into black sludge that lines the streets after plowing, marring the city’s beauty; temperatures that tease us with warmer weather subsequently plummet again, causing all that snow to melt and turn into treacherous ice…Chicagoans get toughened by this year after year — until they can’t stand it anymore and retire someplace hot.
Hopefully the worst is behind us. By March, we’ve had a few teaser days – some almost up to 60 degrees – even though it doesn’t last. Like all of nature, we long for spring. But winter is not done with us yet: Temperatures will dip below freezing, as is normal at this time of year, and no one would be surprised by more snow. So by now we’ve had a foretaste of spring and there’s a feeling of hope, mingled with impatience.
To help ease the torment of anticipation, here is an assortment of winter whines to remind you it’s not so bad anymore:
“Why does the weather always have to be really bad on New Year’s Eve?!”
“I can’t feel my face.” “I can’t feel my fingers.” “I can’t feel my feet.”
“My face hurts.” Ouch!” “The air is so cold, it stings.”
“I can’t wear my big, beautiful rings under these tight gloves.” (we should all have such problems!)
“My scarf is strangling me.”
“When I button the top button on my coat, it chokes me, but if I don’t, the wind chills my neck.”
“It’s slippery out there today.” “I hate having to walk like a little old lady.” “Baby steps.”
“I’m snowed in.” “My car is snowed under.” “I am snowed in by my neighbor’s car.”
“The mayor said everyone needs to shovel their sidewalks; why don’t some of these businesses have enough respect for people do to that!”
“I can’t walk. Hold me up. And you’d better not slip either!”
“It’s too cold to breathe.” “This weather is dangerous.” “This intense cold gives me asthma.”
“I can’t see anything with this hood on.” (Author’s note: make sure this isn’t you; stay safe in winter.)
“I’m tired of wearing a hat; it ruins my hairstyle.”
“I should have worn a ski mask today.”
“My hand is freezing but I have to take this picture.”
“I can’t text anymore; I have to put my glove back on.”
“It takes me 10 minutes to get my coat and stuff on to go outside.”
“I’ll be glad when I don’t have to wear long johns anymore.” “Wearing long underwear adds unwanted bulk to my look and makes my clothes fit too tight.”
“I hate wearing the same big boring coat every day.”
“I stood out there freezing and thought I’d die trying to catch a cab.”
“Oh wow, it’s a whole 8 degrees out there; hooray, it’s above zero!”
“I barely have the strength and I sure don’t have the motivation to clunk around in these big heavy boots anymore.”
“I am so tired of wearing big ugly sweaters; I want to wear my nice clothes again.”
“Will it ever warm up and stay warm?”
“This weather is so not me!”
“My birthday is in the winter, so the weather always sucks on my birthday.”
“Winter is expensive: I take a cab to work every day in this weather.” “I don’t get enough [walking] exercise in this weather; it’s too cold out.”
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but I sure am sick of this weather.”
Gripes and grumblings over the weather were everyday talk and could be heard everywhere, as usual, throughout Chicago’s winter. Perhaps you poured some out yourself. Although we humans are helpless against relentless cold and snow, there’s a certain “we’re all in this together” camaraderie that springs from life in the north. Commuting was like a chorus of grunts and huffing and puffing while shuffling with heads down. Office workers looking out at the blizzards and white-outs and dreading the commute home formed a choir of groans with the occasional soloist piping out an obscenity.
Realizing Chicago wasn’t the only place hit with terrible weather and other regions suffered terribly this year, the above whine list will help you realize you were not alone. And if you live in an area of the world that doesn’t get winter, the list will help you appreciate how nice life is when you’re not freaking freezing for months on end.
Finally it is March, the month that is said to “come in like a lion and go out like a lamb.” So everyone: Why not get your spring cleaning done early, and also start now to get in shape for your warm weather wardrobe, for soon you will be out and about again. In any case, make your March a marvelous March.