The Cold

I’m tough. I’m hearty. I’m thick. I grew up in Northern British Columbia, the daughter of a humble llama farmer named Stan (which automatically makes me humble).

Where we lived, it wasn’t unusual for the temperature to drop to -32° Celsius  (-26° Fahrenheit). When the temperature dropped to -32°C we were allowed to stay home from school. However, at -31°C we had to go to school. We would put on our gloves, toque (a type of hat), boots, snowsuit, and we would hike through (at least) four feet of snow for (at least) four kilometres to get to school.

We were tough. We were hearty. We hardly ate any vegetables. We ate moose meat and potatoes. We could handle the change of seasons.

Summer lasted 12 days. In those 12 days there would be BBQs, barn dances, grass mowing, chicken slaughtering, and a cautious removal of clothing layers.

Then Autumn came. The first snow in September. Bears would go into hibernation. We would look outside longingly, remembering those (12) carefree days of BBQs, barn dances, grass mowing, chicken slaughtering, and wearing only one layer of jeans.

Spring was much like Autumn (in that it was mostly winter): ice, snow, extreme weather conditions, digging out your driveway, stocking up on canned goods, snow tires, snow men, not seeing your neighbours for weeks.

We could handle it. We were Northerners. We had thick skin, chapped lips, and cold, dark hearts. We braced ourselves for the slippery sidewalks. We carried a bag of salt with us at all times.

Now I live in Los Angeles, California. It’s always sunny here (at least each of the last 14 days). The skies are always blue (for the last 14 days, if that’s any indication). It’s not uncommon to see people at Ralph’s (a grocery-store chain with locations throughout Southern California) in a two-piece swimsuit. *Everyone (and I mean *everyone who lives in Los Angeles, without exception) wears flip-flops (thongs), thongs (a type of small underwear) and drives a convertible with their top off (their shirt off).

But this week has been cold. In fact, it is the coldest weather Los Angeles has experienced in 22 years. Southern Californians have had to put their tops on/up. They have had to put a t-shirt on over their two-piece. They have had to put on shoes, and wear full cotton briefs. Our local news station issued an ‘extreme weather warning’ this week, telling viewers that it was going to be ‘bitterly cold’ overnight.

This ‘bitter cold’ they were referring to? This ‘extreme weather warning’ that had people wearing full cotton briefs? This ‘cold snap’ that had brought Los Angeles to its knees?

13° Celsius (55° Fahrenheit).

That’s double digits. Heck, that’s summer to us Northerners. That is swimsuit, thong on, top off, BBQ, barn dance, grass mowing, chicken slaughtering, and a cautiously optimistic removal of clothing weather. That’s one layer of jeans weather!

I think I’m going to like LA.


4 thoughts on “The Cold

  1. K. Bannerman says:

    We last visited California in February 2006, and it was perfect for swimming because no one else used the pool, ever. When people bundled in sweaters gave us side-long glances, we simply said, “Canadian.” “Ah,” they would said with a smile, and leave us to our splashing.

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