Sunday 17 January 2016

Really Cold

It has been middling cold for the past few days, but the weatherman has promised a Chinook will blow in early this week. Tomorrow I think he said. By the way, "middling" for me means that the temperature is about -15˚C with a wind chill of no more than -20˚C. It is a temperature that I can live with and as long as I am moving and dressed for the weather, there shouldn't be a problem.

I was thinking today that as long as I was wearing long johns, preferably wind proof pants, thick socks, good boots, at least three upper layers, a parka (windproof of course), scarf, toque and for me a neoprene face mask I should do fine. I suffered a touch of frostbite on my upper right cheek some years back and it seems to be more sensitive to the cold than the other cheek. Maybe the biting wind is what Jesus meant when he suggested turning the other cheek. It occurs to me that dressing for the cold in Canada isn't a simple matter unless you were born here.

There was a news report last night about a class for new immigrants to the country on how to dress to survive winter in Canada. It isn't something that would immediately spring to mind, but it does make sense. If you were coming from a country where the only ice you encounter is in a drink, survival information would come in handy. We had neighbours that exchanged jobs and homes with an Australian couple and although they did know what to expect, there were times when the cold tossed them a curveball or two. I remember looking out the window one day and that couple, their two adult children and their wives were just standing in the alley looking up and down. We had had a thaw/freeze cycle and the entire alley as far as the eye could see was just a sheet of ice and they had never encountered anything like it before.

I worked with a fellow from Fiji and he told me that his first winter in Canada he couldn't put on enough clothing to keep warm. One day when it was -40˚ the phone rang and it was his boss asking him where he was. He told the boss that when he went out in the morning he couldn't breathe, the air had been that cold, so he assumed that no one in their right minds would go out if they didn't have to. The boss told him that he had to if he wished to keep working. He has been here for about twenty years so I think he became acclimated to the weather.

I find that now I don't have to go out in the extreme cold, I just don't. I can and do but if I had the option, I would be living in Hawaii where, when it gets really cold, you just roll down your sleeves and maybe put on a pair of socks.

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