Polar Vortextual Mood Swings (January 31, 2014)

“Yesterday, I stood outside waiting for the Chicago Avenue bus. I saw one approaching and my heart leapt. Then the bastard drove right by us, resulting in another 30 minutes of trying to withstand the wind. I just started crying. I am so sick of being cold.”

-Conversational anecdote from personal trainer friend

“Oh my God. More snow. I want to die. Can’t take anymore. Stabby stab.”

-Text message from a buddy who thought this might make for a catchy, if lengthy, Twitter hashtag

“Sometimes I just sit at my post at the reception desk and wistfully stare out the window, trying to summon memories of less dark and miserable days. Lately I am just pretending to be a nice person. So much hate in my heart.”

-Forlorn colleague

“Hey Mother Nature and God… this is a memo to you. WE ARE GOING TO GET ON THAT PLANE TOMORROW MORNING to get to New Orleans for our cruise. I don’t care WHAT you say. We deserve a vacation after the crap you’ve thrown our way these last few weeks. 8″ of snow on Friday night before our trip starts? REALLY? NO. I’m telling you RIGHT NOW. WE WILL GET ON THAT PLANE TOMORROW MORNING. #PolarVortexCanSuckIt”

-Agitated Facebook rant courtesy of my best friend’s partner

“Dear Alaska and Chicago, Illinois:

We need to immediately work out a weather exchange here. Anchorage, Alaska, Colorado wants its weather back. I am going to arrange for Chicago to send you yours. And I’m going to send this s**t to Chicago. Chicago should be fine with that, since the 22° we had today is much warmer than what they had.

Every time I have to break out my ‘Chicago clothes’ a baby kitten cries. True Story.”

-Native Chicagoan who relocated to Colorado several years ago

“Winter 2014 sucks more than anything that has ever sucked before.”

-A poetic Becky Sarwate, channeling “Beavis & Butthead”

These are quotes sampled from a smattering of hardened Midwestern weather survivors. It felt appropriate to publish this roundup on this, the last day of January 2014. A punishing 31 days indeed, the month will forever be remembered as usurper of April as the cruelest. If T.S. Eliot was still alive and forced to wear two pairs of pants every day just to survive the commute to work, I am certain he’d agree.

In aggregating the misery of my acquaintance, I accomplish two goals. The first is to feel slightly less isolated throughout my own increasingly despondent winter experience. The second is to answer critics who have diagnosed Windy City residents with an acute case of Cry Babyitis. We should be used to this, the thinking goes. What more do we expect from January adjacent to one of the Great Lakes?

Perhaps just a small, teeny tiny respite from the cycle of white out blizzard conditions followed by Arctic deep freeze. In years past, winter could be counted upon to furnish the occasional 30 or 40-degree day which made daily life navigable, even if the sun remained stubbornly hidden. This is expected and infinitely preferable to the trick of blazing sunshine that requires industrial strength shades, a cruel irony contradicting the soul deadening chore of trudging through multiple feet of snow-turned-block ice.

But I believe the current variable that is really dragging down morale is the calendar. Tomorrow is just February 1. We have so much farther to go before there’s any real hope of hospitable climate change. Let us not forget that we received nearly an inch of snowfall in mid-April 2013. With a number of meteorologists predicting “Polar Vortex: Part 3” during the early days of February, it’s not a stretch to wonder if a hat trick of tragic weather (predictably on the heels of what’s expected to be another 10” of accumulated snow through the weekend) might not just be enough to turn us all into Jack Nicholson from The Shining.


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