It never fails to fascinate me: that moment when you realize that your body has adapted to winter, because what was “cold” a few weeks ago is no longer even worth noticing.
I am a Midwesterner. If you are from Florida, or Arizona, or Southern By-God California or somewhere similarly godforsaken, you may not be aware of what winter is like around here. Today was in the low thirties, what we call “t-shirt weather” around here. Last week it was cold. If I brought you up here in cold weather, you would die. I would stand there, wearing a t-shirt, not even shivering, wondering why you were dying and quietly suspecting that the human race’s future prospects were probably being improved. But you would die. There is no doubt about it.
But yeah: when the last week has seen consistent below zero temperatures, and especially when the wind chills get into the dozens of degrees below zero (it hasn’t been that cold yet, but it will be) when a day in the thirties or even low forties rolls around, we don’t even notice that shit anymore. That’s wake up and think about putting on shorts weather. It’s nothing.
Today was one of those days. It was damn near warm all day, and sunny besides, and the sun was doing a damn good job of melting the leftover, unplowed ice off of the parking lots and roads and driveways around the area.
And then it became night, and it got much colder. I’d say it probably dropped 20 degrees in an hour. And all that water that was on the roads and the parking lots and the driveways because the ice and slush had been melting refroze.
Are you familiar with the term “black ice,” Person of a Warmer Clime? Black ice is what happens when a thin sheen of ice forms on a surface– generally, on a paved surface, which is why it is called black ice. It is transparent and can be damn near invisible under the right circumstances, and a lot of the time a patch of asphalt covered in black ice just looks a little wet. It’s dangerous as hell, to both drivers and walkers.
Sometimes, for example, you’re walking back to your car after a day much like I’ve just described, and you step on a patch of black ice despite knowing what you’re in for and walking very fucking carefully. And you don’t fall down! No, instead, you discover that suddenly your foot is next to your ear, but you are still upright and to the casual observer it must look like you are executing some sort of badass martial arts move or perhaps an impromptu Nazi goose-step or Cleesian silly walk, only you’re a fat old man who is incapable of such things by either poor flexibility, personal politics, or both. Then, somehow, you’re still standing on both feet, only you heard at least three distinct pops out of your hip while your foot was on walkabout (see what I did there?) and you had a brief moment where you thought wow, that actually feels good before the shattering pain kicked in and then you drive home, your thoughts drifting back and forth between Percocet and the emergency room.
tl;dr it’s icy out and I may need a cane tomorrow.
POSTSCRIPT: Managed to get my shoes off. I have been wearing two different color socks all day today. The end.