Thursday, January 7, 2010

Winter Hasn't Gotten Long Yet, But That Doesn't Mean It's Awesome

I'm going to put myself out there and be totally Minnesotan and write about winter today. What I'm not going to do is act all tough and self righteous and brag about how oh so cold it is here and how oh so snowy it is here and how it's totally winter and we are a hearty people for putting up with this sort of weather for 6 months out of the year. Can you say pet peeve? I can.

Ever since I moved to Minnesota so many years ago, I noticed that the people here are very into exaggerating the woes of winter into something I find completely extraordinary and ridiculous. Did you know it gets to be -80 degrees in Minnesota during the winter time? Did you know they get 2 feet of snow in one sitting? I didn't know these things either! But luckily I met people who told me these things in a manner that had the essence of forced aloofess so I would be prone to gawk at how they weren't phased by the fact that they live in the next best thing to Antarctica.
That's it. I'm making a list.

Exaggeration: Winter in Minnesota lasts six months out of the year.
Reality: While it depends on the winter, I usually bank on it being between four to five months long. Usually it starts getting pretty wintery sometime in late November/early December and eases up in mid March. A six month winter would mean that snowy and cold winter weather would start in November and not end until the end of April. While I have experienced strong winter storms both at the beginning of November and at the end of April, they are few and far between and wouldn't happen in the same winter. My April blizzard experience, which can be re-experienced here was a one off situation that is not normal. In fact it was pretty ridiculous.

Exaggeration: Anything above zero degrees is balmy.
Reality: This is stupid. Of course it is going to be balls to the wall cold if it is 1 degree outside. You know what? It' also going to balls cold if it is 14 degrees outside. I know this because this morning it was 14 degrees outside and I wanted to die during my one block walk from the bus to work. Yes, I have experienced those cold snaps that last a week or two where it does indeed get to be 20 below, and in the following weeks 14 degrees doesn't feel too bad, but that's not how winter is in Minnesota. It only happens a couple weeks out of the year, usually in January. After that we continue on with shivering through at average temperatures in the teens and twenties.

Exaggeration: Yeah. Try living in Minnesota where it has 40 below zero winters.
Reality: This is a flat out lie. I went to school in Bemidji, Minnesota which tends to be roughly 10 degrees colder than most anywhere else in the state. The coldest it got during a snap one year was maybe 40 below. And you know what? It was for a week. It wasn't for months and months on end. It was a week. This shit happens every year in January or February and the weathermen can't contain themselves. From the way they talk about it, you'd think they'd never seen a temp drop below zero. It happens every year. Then the Minnesotans go and travel to places that are kind of warm and insinuate that we all live in ridiculously frigid temperatures for months on end. No. We don't. It's usually 15 - 25 degrees in the winter time. Yes, this is still cold and I explained above, but don't get too excited about deadly cold happening all the time. It's a lie.

I think I complain about this every year. But it just bothers me! Why can't people accept their surroundings and just realize that they live in a state that has crap weather for 4 to 5 months out of the year, but it's not crappy enough for special recognition? There are plenty of other places that have it much worse than Minnesota. Ever hear of Canada? Alaska? Siberia? Just to name a few. I may hate winter, but I really when people brag about it.

Beer makes everything better.

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