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Cold Superority Complex

I do not, contrary to popular belief, hate the cold. I hate being cold. If I am properly attired or the building I am in is adequately heated, I'm perfectly fine with it being cold outside. I enjoy participating in the winter sports I have attempted (skiing and ice skating, so far). I enjoy brisk walks in a snow covered woods, hunting for a Christmas tree. I enjoy curling up under a blanket with a book in one hand, a puppy or kitty on my lap, and a warm beverage close by. I enjoy the snow (especially because I have never once had to shovel it) when I recognize it*.

What I hate, more than actually being cold, is the Cold Superority Complex that seems to infect half the city when it gets cold.

It is cold here. Tonight, it will probably snow. Tomorrow, I will likely either not have to go into work at all, or will delay my departure until the ice and snow stops and/or melts**. There will be lots of car accidents in the next 24 hours or so because people who live down here aren't used to this sort of weather and the people who maintain the roads don't really have the equipment or supplies to make the roads safer.

Likely, those of you who are reading this will have experienced much colder than the 22 or so degrees it's supposed to get tonight. Likely, those of you who are reading this have had shovel, scrape, slip and otherwise deal with the fall out of freezing temperatures and precipitation in a much greater extent than those of us in Houston will.

And when we say, "phew, it's cold!" you love, love, love to tell us about it.

It's annoying.

My Yankee raised mother actually was pretty good about refraining from this sort of thing, and most of the people I grew up around were Houstonians like me. I went to college in southern California, where it never got below maybe 55. It wasn't until my brother went to college in Ithaca, New York that I started to hear about how much colder it was in the rest of the world. Doors couldn't open because of snow! Cars couldn't start! Wind chill of negative eighty! Lake effect! And then when one of my sisters went to college in Burlington, Vermont, they started competing on who endured the most cold.*** It'd get insane.

As I started to know more and more people from these crazy cold climated places, I realized that the Cold Superority Complex was not limited to my immediate family. People from all over (mainly northern parts, though) of the country love, the second someone says "it's cold." to regale you with how this isn't cold, let me tell you cold. "I once smoked a cigarette in Maine in negative seventy wind chill."**** "Let me tell you about the February I spent in Chicago." "You want to talk snow? I was stuck in the house for four days once." And so on, and so on.

What these people don't know is I don't care how cold you once were. I'm cold right now. I've been in what the forecasters in Chicago so playfully call "chilly". I lived in Oxford in the wintertime. I skiied Park City in negative 40. I understand that there's such a thing as "colder" than what I'm feeling right now. My boogers have frozen upon walking outside. I, too, have lost sensation in my extremeties. But that doesn't make a lick of difference to me if I'm feeling cold. Good for you! You endured the Arctic Circle once! Go turn up the heat.

What's more is that we're in Houston, Texas. This sort of thing doesn't happen down here that often. All of these "once, it was so cold the icicles started forming inside the house" stories happen in places where, dammit, you're an idiot if you didn't think that sort of thing was going to happen with some regularity. Ice storms and blue northers happen every ten years or so around here. Most of the plants in my back yard are tropical and live year round. We aren't generally prepared for this, so don't start patting me on the head and start telling me how much worse it could be.


*For those of you who haven't been reading along for all nearly nine years of this journal, my sister Olivia and I were driving back from Taos, New Mexico to Berkeley, California around New Years 2001/02. Somewhere between Alburquerque and Flagstaff, at around ten o'clock at night, we started noticing a huge number of bugs flying towards our windsheild. We figured it was some sort of desert phenomena. It took us about forty miles to realize that we were driving through a snow storm. We made good time. People more used to snowstorms than two girls from Houston/California find this story baffling/hysterical.

**As I was typing this, my work sent the "no work tomorrow" e-mail.

***My other sister wisely went to college in Palo Alto, California, so she and I bonded over intelligence in choosing where to spend the winter months of the year.

****Actual quote from Graham in the last 48 hours.



( 13 comments — Say something )
Feb. 3rd, 2011 10:48 pm (UTC)
So what you're saying is, you're cold...in Texas ;)
Feb. 3rd, 2011 10:51 pm (UTC)
Feb. 3rd, 2011 10:53 pm (UTC)
I hate cold because it keeps me from going out (the cold is one of the key components to keep my pain going). I'm also quite startled that back "home" in Amarillo, it's so damned cold that's it's been colder than the North Pole for the second day now and it's not looking good for the next few days either. I do not remember it ever doing that up there and I was born there in 57 and left in 90.

My mother was from Iowa where it snows up to your butt (her phrase). She's even complaining about it up there.

I wish I was somewhere sunny and warm (not hot) where I could swim and just relax with a book in a hammock.
Feb. 3rd, 2011 11:09 pm (UTC)
I completely agree with all of the above.

Also ... I promise to refrain from doing the same sort of thing during the summer when my Northern friends make the statement "gosh, it's hot!" ;)
Feb. 3rd, 2011 11:59 pm (UTC)
Believe it or not, I do understand this. Toronto is one of the warmer parts of this neck of the woods (plus we are not in the lake effect belt, so it also tends to be less snowy). As such, people in Montreal, London (Ont.), etc. laugh at us when we complain about the weather. (This is partly due to the mayor 2 mayors back calling in the army once to deal with the snow. Sigh. Never gonna live that down.)

Like so: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZEMRAWaVr8
Feb. 4th, 2011 12:02 am (UTC)
The part I forgot to mention: I solemnly swear to do my level best never to indulge in a Cold Superiority Complex! Because I know how DAMN ANNOYING IT IS.
Feb. 4th, 2011 12:28 am (UTC)
I hear you. I didn't move to TX to keep chopping frozen smoke out of the chimney every morning before I light the cook fire.
Feb. 4th, 2011 12:44 am (UTC)
I second that emotion. It wasn't that cold in New Jersey and it was too cold for me, so I came home.
Feb. 4th, 2011 01:01 am (UTC)
I've lived in Ohio. In winter. And that's a great deal of why I live in Houston now. Snow is pretty on the television. I wanna be WARM.
Feb. 4th, 2011 03:08 am (UTC)
Boy do I hear you.I am not fond of being cold at all. Don't mind looking at snow....but if I can't ski on it, well, there's just no use in having it.

Houston is WET cold.....Taos, Santa Fe, etc is dry cold, and yes, there is a HUGE difference!
Feb. 4th, 2011 03:09 am (UTC)
see the cigarette in Maine? Now that's devotion to a habit.
Feb. 4th, 2011 12:52 pm (UTC)
In our defense, most of us don't particularly enjoy being cold either. Comparing notes is as much a coping mechanism as anything...
Feb. 4th, 2011 01:37 pm (UTC)
but, the foot and a half of snow we have covered by the inch of ice looks so pretty on my front lawn.

sorry. i had to. the cold physically hurts me, but i also do not enjoy the cold even if i am warm. so the snow surrounding me, and the particular strain of snow moss tree in my front yard mock me constantly.
( 13 comments — Say something )


'stina is, surprisingly enough, a lawyer from Houston, Texas who rambles about quite a number of things.

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