Friday, January 1, 2010

It's a dry cold

i woke up in the middle of the night, puzzled as to why i couldn't sleep - god knows, the 16-hour trip home was tiring enough.

turns out it wasn't the middle of the night, it was 7:44 AM and still pitch-black. the wind was howling around the northeast corner of the house.

i wondered, not for the first time, whether we should have come home at all. it was minus 28 when we landed. our plane was the lucky one; the next two couldn't disembark right away because their doors were frozen shut. the head cold that was a mild annoyance in the tropics (the tropics!) is turning into something of an ordeal, what with all my mucus membranes having dried to wafers. i have already scratched off a full-body tan. how can your heels, knees and elbows turn to leather in under 9 hours?

i'm not whining. i'm from here, albertan enough to know that only people from ontario whine. YEG is full of true albertans. you know them by their hoodies and, when it gets super cold, the oilers jersey on top. these guys prepare for the cold by hunching their shoulders and shoving their hands deeper into their pockets. i see their can-do moms, too, stoic in sorels and ski jackets, their skin wrecked. i admire the spirit of these true albertans, if not their judgment. for they do not convince me that human beings are meant to live in a climate this inhospitable, a climate where you might, oh, die if your bus runs late.

we know all of this but, living here, we forget it sometimes. things get normalized - shoveling, chapped lips, cars you have to plug in, static electricity, socks in bed, danger pay for jobs like newspaper delivery - and we get on with it. i know i will adapt to that again, that sometime later this afternoon i'll shrug my shoulders and keep 'em up there until i'm back indoors again. but right now, before i have acclimatized, i want to offer the heretical opinion that we were not meant to live in such inhospitable circumstances.

or, to be more specific, i was not meant to live in such a place. mom, dad: start 'splaining!


Kim said...

Having spent the last almost 5 years living in Turkey, which is not non-stop heat but is not Alberta either, I am completely at a loss as to how I will ever manage to cope once I repatriate.
Edmonton cold is hell.

margrit said...

Welcome home, Heather! And happy new year!

mari said...

There are people living in the Arctic. It's not so bad here. Snowpants!

jen alabiso said...

My words for this place? Punitive and Hostile. And I only went as far as new york to find better....