The Polar Vortex

As I’m writing this, most of the United States is dealing with the chilling effects of the Polar Vortex. It’s freezing. And yeah, sometimes I’ll write a blog post where I complain about the weather, about how I get too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. But seriously, this is really cold. I wish I could take back everything I’ve ever said about the weather, because it all pales in comparison to whatever it is we’re experiencing right now.

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I ride my bike to work every day. I don’t care if it’s raining or snowing or if it’s cold, I just bundle up, I’ll throw on a few waterproof layers in case it’s wet out, I’ll open my front door with my bike and I’ll say, “You call this a winter? Ha!”

And I did that today, but I couldn’t even get through that first sentence before physically recoiling from how cold it was. I was like, “You call this a …” and then the cold hit me all at once, the single digit temperature flooded the inside of my nose, and I’ve always heard people talk about having your nose hairs freeze upon contact with some really frosty air, but I’ve never actually had that happen, the sensation of ice forming up your nose, all the way up your head. I started coughing, I was like, “Holy shit, are you serious?”

Still, I don’t know, I’m stubborn, I figured I could tough out the fifteen minute bike ride. But I wasn’t even halfway there and I was regretting my decision. As I pedaled up the Queensboro Bridge, this arctic wind punishing me, trying to blow me down from the other direction, it made my face hurt, really badly. Even though I had gloves on, my fingers were losing all sensation. With one hand grabbing the handlebars, I concocted this ridiculous routine of blowing into my fist, then using that hand to deliver about a quarter of a second’s worth of warmth to somewhere on my face.

How do you live like this, Northern Canada? When I got out of work, as I walked to my bike totally dreading the ride back, I took my left hand out of my glove for just a second, just so I could do a quick unlock and start pedaling back, and I didn’t even know that this was possible, but the actual lock was frozen. It took me like five minutes just to get it through the hole, and when I did, there wasn’t any turning. It wouldn’t budge, it was completely stuck.

So I just ran for it, fuck that shit. If I had stayed outside just standing there, fiddling around with a bike lock for any longer, I wouldn’t have made it. If someone wants to tough it out overnight and try to pick the lock, be my guest, because if you’re willing to brave that type of cold just to steal what can only be thirty or forty bucks worth of bike parts, you’ve earned it, all right, you obviously need it more than I do.

And so I finally made it home. I stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts on the way back, and all I’ve been doing for the rest of the day is sitting here buried under five layers of sweatshirts, I’m drinking coffee and I’m eating donuts. That’s it. I’ve already eaten like six donuts. Because no way am I ever going outside again unless I’m protected by a layer of warming fat. All of these hours of running and exercise, and what do I have to show for it? I can’t stop shivering. I’ve already taken like three hot showers, and my feet are still cold. No way, the next time you see me, I’m going to be morbidly obese. I’ll be fat, but I’ll be warmer. And whatever, I love donuts. I could sit here and eat donuts all day for the rest of my life. Bring it on Polar Vortex. Is this as cold as it’s going to get? Ha!

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