The Warmest Time of the Year
After “going meta” yesterday for the second time in three days, passing off something that might be described as “filler” in order to meet my daily post requirement for this month, a well-meaning reader sent in some post ideas.
Perhaps he or she was just embarrassed for me and wanted to avoid further awkwardness. Perhaps they selfishly wanted to hear about something other than my internal writing struggles. Whatever the intention, I was deeply offended and decided I would never speak to this person again.
But then as the night wore on and I still had nothing, and even I was growing tired of talking about my writing deficiencies, I revisited the list of suggested topics:
- Kittens are so cute! (Include a picture!)
- Write about what you had for breakfast or lunch.
- Why do men rarely wash their hands in public restrooms?
- What’s the deal with tofu?
- The return of winter.
It’s winter here in Minnesota.
You might think it’s winter for the entire Northern Hemisphere, but you’d be wrong. Mexico doesn’t have winter. Florida doesn’t have winter. Not even Iowa has winter. Only Minnesota has winter, which is what the people here believe.
Oh, sure — Canada might have winter, but they must be some freakish race of ice creatures up there. (Eh.) And then there’s Russia, of course. We’ll admit that the Russians know how to put on a winter. But that’s it. No one else has suffered as the Minnesotans have.
One thing I like about winter in Minnesota is that I get to spend more time in the house. I love the outdoors, but I think I love the indoors — and specifically, my own home — even more. In the winter I don’t have to feel conflicted on a nice sunny day. I just have to feel guilty when I don’t walk the dogs, but as an experienced Norwegian, I have mechanisms for coping with various kinds of guilt, so it’s manageable. (I’ll let them claim to have winter in Norway also.)
Another thing I like about winter in Minnesota is the online comments section of our local newspaper, the StarTribune. Because I hate myself. When there are weather-related articles, I enjoy — and loathe — browsing the comments. One hundred percent of them fall in three—no, four—categories, of which here is a representative sample:
- Why is this news? It’s winter, people!
- I’m glad I moved to Atlanta. It’s so much better here.
- People in this state don’t know how to drive in the snow. I grew up in Michigan where we had five hundred inches of snow each year and we never had traffic accidents.
- Obama sucks.
For the Michigan guy: First, you don’t have winter in Michigan, so that makes no sense. Second, you’re right, we have no clue how to drive in this stuff, but neither does anyone else. It’s a mystery. (I don’t go any farther than the mailbox when it’s snowing out.)
Those ideas really helped. I even left out some things I can save for another day, like wintertime driveway maintenance. Please keep the suggestions coming!