January 09, 2010
For the better part of my life I have always held the opinion that winter is better than summer. You can put more clothes on but only take off so much before they come to get you right?
I no longer hold that opinion...
Winter is just wrong.
This morning it is a steaming twelve degrees outside.
This is Georgia... The land of ninety plus degrees with one hundred percent humidity. I am used to the kind of days when you feel like you could push off the porch in the morning on the way to work and just bounce to the car because the air so thick & wet...
The only time I have felt these types of temperatures was in Illinois. My wife is from Chicago and I have been there during some rough weather. The coldest I've ever experienced was on a trip there once when we went riding around after a snow storm.
We had traveled up there one February for a visit, splitting time between Jacksonville (just outside of Springfield) and Chicago. When we left for Chicago the temperatures were moderate and pleasant. The next morning when we awoke... There was fourteen inches of snow on the ground. That evening we drove around. I was in the car with the heat on all they way, dressed accordingly, and was still freezing. The sight of a bank thermometer on Lake shore drive reading negative thirty degrees will stick with me forever. When we drove back to Jacksonville they were closing the interstate behind us due to the storm. I drove for hours in near blizzard conditions following the tail lights of a tractor trailer.
Just as much of the country right now, we are experiencing a deep freeze. You can't do anything fun at all. You can't enjoy a kawasaki mule ride, the air is just too frigid. Although Patrick and I did have a fun twenty minutes yesterday on the road sliding around in the icy patches... the mule goes good on ice... You can't go for a walk because, as Patrick said, "This makes my face hurt..."
Driving north of here was just simply a no go for me... I left for work yesterday and got most of the way there. As I stated, I have driven in snow... lots of it... But there is a big difference between snow and ice. When I was trekking along highway five in Douglasville yesterday morning I was amazed by how people were driving in the mess. I know that when you encounter ice you DO NOT BRAKE. Yet these people were riding their brakes and then looking around in wonder when they would begin to slide. There were icy patches everywhere, but by the time I got that far north the road was just a solid block of ice with heavy north bound traffic. I saw four wrecks.. bad ones.. with injuries. On highway seventy, heading north out of our county, I saw a big four wheel drive truck off in a ditch.. facing the wrong way... on top of a barbed wire fence... The guy sitting in it did not look happy at all while he was talking on the phone. There were a couple of people standing around him scratching their heads so I passed on by. The next wreck I saw was two cars that had tangled up near the Chattahoochee river. There were two ambulances and multiple police on the scene... Things like that chill my blood..
When I topped a hill on highway five and saw a long line of 'sitting still traffic' with several cars in the ditches here & there, I was reminded of a post apocalyptic movie I once saw.. I gave it up and called my boss. I tried to go an alternate route and turned around. I think that was the moment of greatest fear for me... Heading south, up hill, with a steady line of sliding cars heading north. All the way up the last hill I was looking at all the slide marks going from the north bound lane, across the south bound lane and then down into the ditch... As I passed each car I said, "Thank you for not hitting me.."
When I reached the alternate route I topped a hill and started down the long slope looking with a foreboding feeling at the quarter mile or so of solid ice that ended with a curve... I then began to maneuver a nice long, slow turn around as I called my boss to admit that my 'inner pussy' had taken over and I was heading back home... But, at least I tried.
My hands and feet have been cold for a long while now and I read books and watch movies wrapped in a blanket. Car batteries die, water bottles for pets freeze, pipes have to be wrapped and heated, kids and dogs can't play outside, late night kawasaki mule rides down to the lake to make out with your wife and look for ufo's are out, gathering wood for carving becomes too painful when the temperatures get like this, all manner of wildlife attempts to move in under your home to find warmth... The list of reasons I hate the cold seems to grow daily...
As I sit here typing this I am looking out the window at a frozen scene of stillness. Trees appear to be black, snow and frost have dusted the branches and looks like powdered sugar coating the leaves on the ground, nothing is moving... it really is a season locked in death... Yet I know that in a few short months I will be complaining that the air conditioner just doesn't have enough ass to cool this place off... Yet I can't wait for the heat...