Monday, January 6, 2014

What's it like living in -35 cold?

It’s not so much that the quality of the cold is any different. Cold is cold. It’s not a different kind of cold, there’s just more of it. It’s the cold you know and love, just with the intensity turned up. So instead of being able to tolerate the icy air on your seven minute walk to the bus stop, you hit the outside air for five seconds and you feel like you’ve been out there for an eternity. 

The feeling of snot frozen inside your nose is a sensation unlike any other. Usually in the cold my nose runs like a faucet, but once you hit this kind of cold cold your nose gets bone dry because the second you step outside any liquid in your body turns into a solid. When you inhale the coldness of the air freezes all of the precipitation in your throat. 

It’s a perpetual state of not being able to feel your extremities. When you’re out in this cold you’re not even really sure you still have a face because you can’t feel that it’s still there. You yank to open the heavy metal door into your apartment building and your fingers burn like you’ve scalded them on a stove. Your toes feel like little logs.

Weather is not so much of an issue when you’re on break from school and can spend endless hours working from home, or more importantly, inside. But when you’ve eaten every edible thing in your house the hunger compels you to make the frigid walk to the market. It’s funny how the store that seemed to delightfully close in summer is now obnoxiously far away in the winter. I fleetingly considered riding the bus around the block just so I could get out of the wind. The cold makes you irrational like that. 

For a few weeks there it was worse back home than it was here in the tundra. It was hitting negative three some people’s thermostats while we were enjoying the balmy twenties. But in a flash it changed; you could watch that mercury fall and we’ve been shivering ever since. With the polar vortex hitting the northeast hard, just know that I feel your pain. Or rather, I empathize with your icy numbness. What’s it like living in one of the coldest places in the world? It’s an adventure.

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