I would like to begin by stating that I enjoy nice weather. I’m a huge fan. And I certainly don’t want to come off as a complainer about the recent situation. After all, a person who’s recovering from the flu has no business being outside when it’s a typical January or February day in Chicago, right? So the fact that I’ve been able to–not just painlessly–but pleasantly walk a mile or two every day on account of temperatures being in the 40’s and even 50’s is something I should be praising the deities for, yes?
And yet, something’s off. It just doesn’t feel quite right. I should be rejoicing. Isn’t the “Dreaded Chicago Winter” the only thing that makes this city not perfect? Haven’t I declared time and time again that, “I don’t know how long I could live here–I just don’t know how many Chicago Winters I can survive” and so on? Didn’t I write this? And this? I’ve never EVER talked highly of the winters here in Chicago. Ever. In fact, I’ve been downright insulting. But how can something that beats down on my soul day after day deserve respect? How can something that freezes the moisture on my eyeballs in one short trip from train station to apartment building door expect politeness? Why would I pay courtesy to the annual event that transforms my home into something uninhabitable?
Could it be that I have begun to love this city, warts and all? Am I donning that badge that every true Chicagoan wears? The badge that reads, “I’m hardcore, ’cause I wait for the bus in January.” Getting through a winter here is something to keep track of. We all have our metaphorical notches in our boots. I’ve got five myself. Wow. Five.
I haven’t made the sixth notch yet. Because honestly, winter hasn’t happened here yet. Not truly. It’s already February and we haven’t even dipped below freezing. (I can’t believe I’ve taken issue with this! It’s insane. Somebody stop me! I don’t know who I’ve become!) I haven’t worn my serious winter coat yet (the one that weighs ten pounds, the one that is insulated so well I feel like a super hero–except I don’t look like a super hero in it–I look like a huge dork). For the sake of all that is good in the world, I still haven’t needed to wear three pairs of pants or two pairs of gloves! Clearly, something is very, very wrong.
Frankly, we’re all just way too comfortable. We’re not supposed to be comfortable right now. We’re supposed to be paying our dues, ant-ing it up in the winter months so that we can really grasshopper it when summer comes.
If this continues for much longer, Chicago could face a serious identity crisis. Think about it. This city is defined by good theatre, deep dish pizza, crooked politics, questionable hot dog (or veggie dog–Woot!) toppings, and shitty, shitty winters. If they take this away from us, what’s next? Full funding for our libraries?
When will the madness end? What will become of us? Road work is happening in February, for goodness sake! If construction is happening now, buds on the trees are soon to follow. You can see the poor workers out there in their hard-hats, wandering aimlessly, filling potholes, confused by how their hibernation was cut so short. And if they’re out this early, you know they’re going to be mating by March!
Again, I don’t want to sound ungrateful for the absolutely delightful walking-weather. Because it has been so very splendid. I am thankful for having the odd sensation of feeling uplifted and lighter in the middle of winter. But the Chicagoan in me knows that it’s wrong. Call me a martyr, but it’s February, dammit. We shouldn’t be this comfortable.