Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Weather

I miss snow, but not the cold. See my latest exploration for the Vermilion Voice.

Gearing Up for Winter

Dig out the winter coats, the gloves, the hats with ear flaps – it's going to be a long, hard winter. It's getting down to 28 degrees tonight! Okay, in full disclosure, I'm only talking Fahrenheit.

I can hear you all the way down here as you laugh and snicker at my winter wimpiness. Alas, it is true. I have lost my rugged, Central-Alberta toughness. If the temperature falls below our annual average of 15 C, I start to shiver.

My defense? In order to withstand the horrific summer heat in the deep south, my body has absolutely had to adapt. Adapting allows me to function in the summer months, but this adaptation also means I've lost considerable nerve when I see the temperatures plummet.

I understand that weather is a competition where only the rugged survive. It is clear that I can't really win in either Alberta or Alabama. Northerners boast and puff up their chests as they recall the time it stayed below 30 for weeks and weeks. Down south, they go on and on when the mercury rises to 100 and stays there.

I have to admit, I don't like either extreme too much. Now I am a what might be called a weather-moderate. I can tolerate high heat, have experience with extreme cold, but I'd rather endure neither.

I said earlier that I really wouldn't win any ruggedness competitions, but that actually depends who I'm competing against and what the month may be. Put me in some August heat with an Albertan and I've got you licked. We hover around 34C for most of May to October. I can now function at 43C and have for days on end.

Granted, I'm in my nice air-conditioned house, but you can bet your winter booties that I'm darn tough for the ten minutes I'm outdoors. You know how minus 30C arrives and Albertans head indoors and stay there? Same thing happens in Alabama in July; not a soul to be found anywhere. I might be able to take some heat, but I do have to admit I come in dead last in a heat race with native Alabamians. Women around here truly do glow and I am often a sweaty mess in their perfectly made-up presence.

Let me explain Alabama heat for you. In Alberta, the sun is hot. A breeze can cool you off and shade helps; evenings bring some relief. Down here, the air is hot all day long. There is no getting out of the air. Sitting under a tree with a breeze blowing can feel like a sauna even at midnight. A strange silver-lining, my pasty-white skin hardly ever burns here whereas Alberta sun scorches me in minutes. I have come to appreciate the humidity's effect on my porcelain complexion. After an hour on the ground in Alberta, I get chapped lips and can feel the moisture being sucked from my pores. See? No more ruggedness.

Switch seasons, and I have friends here who whine and moan about the cold as soon as it drops below 20C and I love, love, love a 13C day. Sometimes I can't stop myself from puffing out my chest a bit and saying something blustery like “Oh, you should be in Alberta when it's 40 below – doesn't matter which system I'm talking about when it's that cold.”

You might have noticed I keep flipping back and forth between Fahrenheit and Celsius - welcome to my world. I spend more time doing rough conversions than I do brushing my teeth. I moved to the U.S. as a strictly-Celsius girl but as the years have gone by, I have morphed into a somewhat confused two-system follower.
I guess all I really need to understand is that Alberta winter's are coooold and it's a good thing I'm way down south because I'm not too proud to admit I really can't take it anymore. I may be wimpy, but I at least I'm warm.

No comments: