subzero windchill, day 1
a proud Atlantan encounters the white, glittery dark side of Syracuse, New York.
Right Now: 14 F. feels like: -4.
know thine enemy.
Leaving my office,
my face has I have already learned a lesson from the morning’s trek. My scarf winds around my neck and face five times to cover my nose. For one second I wonder if this will cause the people I encounter on the sidewalk to think I am dorky; then I realize, no, it will cause them to be insanely jealous of me, because they have frostbite and I do not.
Inventory: thermal shirt, other shirt, jacket, knee-length wool coat, tights, jeans, socks, boots, scarf, gloves, hat. I walk outside fairly confident in my armor, and am immediately hit by a blast of wind that causes my eyes to water. This response seems counterproductive, I tell my tear ducts. By no means do I want to be in any way wet right now.
I begin my tromp across the snow. 1.5 miles to go. Throughout my entire journey, I see six people outside, and we are all traveling in the same direction. I think this is so we don’t walk into the wind.
A ways down the road I see two kids, probably five and eight, getting off the bus or something. My first instinct is to run over, scoop them into my arms and tell them not to cry. I remember that they have encountered many more days like this than I have, and imagine their reaction: “What do you want, lady? It’s a balmy several degrees out.”
There is a young woman taking her dog outside. This snowy situation is an aspect of New York dog ownership I never considered before. I make a mental chart:
want to go outside
can be disemboweled for warmth
My hat is slipping down and covering the last three square inches of exposed skin on my body. As deliciously cozy as it feels to have warm eyes, I reluctantly concede that I’ll have to prioritize vision over comfort for now. I push my hat up. It slides down. I find a crochet hole to look through.
A bus slows down next to me. I’m pretty sure the bus driver expects me to get on. I don’t look at him or her in case this elicits an awkward shouting/sign language discussion about how much I love walking up enormous snowy hills. The bus pulls away, leaving me to my fate, like when Albert leaves Bruce Wayne.
I get home and start taking off layers. Now I know what it’s like to be a hermit crab and shed your shell that’s the size of you and get a bigger one that’s the size of a house.
It turns out breath vapor will get your scarf wet 1,000,000,000 times faster than tears.