Nathan Hansen's column: You win, winter; now go away
There has been no shortage of complaining about this winter we are currently experiencing.
This winter that, it sometimes feels, will linger on into spring, elbow its way past summer and make itself comfortable on a bed of fall leaves right up to the point it laps itself like that picture of the snake eating its own tail. Only with more snow. And people falling down on icy sidewalks.
There is legitimate cause for complaint. This has been an historically cold winter. According to Minnesota Public Radio meteorologist Paul Huttner, there hasn’t been a winter this cold in Minnesota since I was 10 years old.
He didn’t use those words exactly. It probably would have confused a lot of people if he’d written in his weather blog, “It hasn’t been this cold since Nathan Hansen was in elementary school.” His editors probably would have made him change it to something more universally understood. Like, “There hasn’t been a winter this chilly since the year bronchitis incapacitated Danny Kaye at the Rose Bowl.”
You get the idea, though. It’s been a while.
Still, I’ve tried to stay positive through it all. Sure, it’s been cold. But there have been a good handful of days you could go outside without having to worry about your nose going numb three steps from the door.
Not too numb, anyway.
And when the sun was out it was still pretty spectacular. Catch it just right and watching the sunlight glittering off the snow was like looking at a postcard. Through a window, obviously. But it’s a start.
And sure, all this snow the snow could be a nuisance. But, well, there’s always skiing I guess. People like skiing, right?
Still, even I have my breaking point. The snow can be lovely, but as of last week so much of it had fallen I’m no longer allowed to park outside my house. I had to dig out my trash cans last month and it took five minutes just to get my recycling bin unstuck from the ground.
Cold is tolerable, but my car seems not to be a fan. Starting the engine in the morning seems to get harder with every sub-zero day. This particular model has an LCD screen that flashes “hello” every time you start the motor. I half expect that message to change to something more obscene one of these days. And then maybe an ejector seat I never knew about as my car finally gains its own consciousness and peels out for Arizona.
Even then, all those things are tolerable. I might have been totally into Voltron and Transformers last time it was this cold (OK, I’m still pretty into Transformers and Voltron), but I’ve been through it before. I can handle a little snow. I’m from Minnesota. We fish on frozen lakes and eat disgusting fish stuff for fun. What’s a little snow and cold, really?
And yet, I have to start considering maybe this winter has finally broken me. It’s not the snow. It’s not the cold. It’s the sickness.
I went home sick Friday afternoon. I lay on the couch and watched TV. And while I’m happy to say I still had the strength to leave the room when Entertainment Tonight came on, it was a near thing. I’ve been coughing steadily ever since.
I’m tempted to say it’s the second time in a month I’ve been sick, but that’s not quite right. I’m not sure I was ever completely healthy. The cough never went away. It just ducked behind a snowbank and popped out when nobody was looking.
I don’t remember the last time I’ve been sick like this. It’s not bad enough to stop me from doing things. Just enough to make doing anything mildly annoying. It’s the Oscar red carpet show of illness.
So, fine, winter. You win. I’m sick, and I’m sick of you.
Now get out of here and let spring know it’s time to warm things up.