The Week In Review
I grew up in Illinois, about 45 miles northwest of Chicago. It was a wonderful place to grow up: We had fields and forests to explore, ponds and rivers to throw rocks in, trees to climb, hills to roll down, and the weather was glorious. Fall was brisk, with the scent of burning leaves in the air. Spring was a time of hope, promise, and wonder, as kids would venture outside in shorts when the thermometer hit a balmy 50 degrees. Summer… Well, summer was an endless golden haze, a dreamland. Winter in Chicago, on the other hand, can fucking blow me.
The last winter I spent in Illinois, I had to walk two miles across campus to take an exam from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM while the wind chill factor was 80 degrees below zero. Eighty degrees below zero. That’s Fahrenheit, in case you’re wondering. Converted to Celsius, the temperature was motherfucking COLD! There comes a point on any scale where it doesn’t matter if you go any lower, really. You can measure it, but what’s the point? It doesn’t matter if you have four cents or two, you still won’t be going to Jamaica any time soon. And the difference between, say, 70 below and 80 below may mean something to someone somewhere else in the world, but to me, that night in Illinois, the difference made no difference.
I knew all the buildings on that campus like the back of my hand, and I spent as much of that walk inside hallways to stay out of the cold, and when I got to the exam, I (and everyone else taking that test) could not hold a pencil. The professor gave us 10 minutes to go run our hands under the faucet to thaw them out. It took me the better part of three hours to take the test and I never did totally warm up (the old University buildings being drafty and cold in even moderately cool weather), and then I had to walk home and it had somehow gotten even colder.
I had called up the professor before that exam, incidentally. I asked him if the exam was still taking place. “Why wouldn’t the exam be taking place?” he asked. “Because on the radio they’re saying it’s so cold that it’s dangerous to go outside.” “Well,” he answered, “I’m already here, so the exam will start at 7:00 PM sharp.” I never forgave that professor, and I don’t think I ever really forgave Illinois, either. That winter was my last in the Midwest.
The following October, a good friend and I loaded our meager possessions into the back of his pickup truck. We moved 1,800 miles away, to Tucson, not knowing where we were going to live, what the job market was like, or in my case, even what kind of job I wanted. In order to travel all that distance, pay for gas, motels, find an apartment, get some food, and last to the first paycheck (assuming I could get a job), I had $900. I wasn’t worried at all. It was October and 85 degrees. Who cared what happened?
Now, twenty years later, I’ve lived through two decades worth of glorious winters, where temperatures are mostly in the 60’s, but often a lot nicer than that. This Thursday, February 23rd, the forecast is for sunny skies and 80 degrees. It’s nice. And you fucking pay for it. Living through two decades worth of glorious winters means you’ve also lived through two decades of ball-scorching summers. I don’t mean to be overly graphic there, but ‘ball-scorching’ is the best way to describe sitting down in a car with leather seats that has been baking in 117 degree heat all day.
And now we’re on the other end of the scale, where getting hotter just doesn’t make a bit of fucking difference. 117? Fuck, you might as well hope for a little more heat so you can tell people you know what it’s like to be outside when it’s 120. What difference does it make? Again, the difference makes no difference.
And so as my family and I (along with some good friends of ours) made our way to a cabin in the mountains north of town to celebrate my birthday this weekend, we looked forward to spending time with each other. There were meals to make, drinks to be had (quite a few of those), laughs to be shared, and memories to be made. It was fun beyond belief. But for all the fun I had this weekend, my favorite moment was when, at 11:00 AM this morning, it started to snow and I had the pleasure of watching my kids run around outside trying to catch snowflakes on their tongue. To my surprise, I found myself thinking, “Maybe I’ve forgiven Illinois after all…”
On to what you missed while you were making snow angels with your kids…
- On Tuesday, I faced an old nemesis. Ahhh, strep throat… So, we meet again.
- Also on Tuesday, the excellent women over at The Mouthy Housewives let me answer a question for them. So I let them have their kids back.
- On Wednesday, we learned that Thomas Alva Edison is an insufferable asshole.
- On Thursday, we finally decided that video conferences were just not going to work.
- And on Friday, we learned that singing about fucking people in the ass is appropriate in front of kids, at least in Europe.
And now, a word from our sponsor who isn’t really our sponsor. It’s Involuntary Advertising:
Also, since the 2012 Bloggies voting is now officially over, I removed the shameless self-promotional sidebar I’d been running the last few weeks. While we’re waiting for the final tally, I’d like to wish good luck to all nominees, unless they happen to be running against me, in which case I hope you come down with dysentery. Hahaha, just kidding. Good luck to everyone, including the excellent blogs I’m up against. They deserve to win just as much as I do. More so, probably, since they tend do things that I don’t, like make sense, convey useful information to people, use verbs, etc.
And since I didn’t like how blank everything looked over there without the big Bloggies star, I added a new section: Poll of the Moment, which will tap into the zeitgeist to finally put to rest questions that have plagued us for so long, such as which sitcom character we’d most like to see bludgeoned with a hammer.
Ok, it’s Monday. If this isn’t going to be the best week ever, here’s hoping we at least catch a few snowflakes on our tongues.