Thursday, 26 February 2004

What's Cooler than Cool - Ice Cold

Tonight is cold in that ice-in-the-air way that hurts the insides of your nose and makes your eyes water. The pavements are freezing and my temperate-city soled shoes are doing nothing to keep my feet warm.

It was a beautiful day, at least it looked like it when I snatched a glance of the sky while looking up from my puter screen. It reminded me of a winter I spent in Wisconsin. I was working with a friend of my father's at the University of Wisconsin Zoological Museum labelling skeletons for a living. I spent my lunch hour playing Uno with scientists and workers from other departments in the basement. I ate the same sandwich every day for six months because the sandwich bar experience was a frantic one and I always got to the front of the queue too quickly to change my order - in the name of super efficiency I just never had time to reconsider the answers to the questions they would bark at me from behind the counter. In the afternoon I would sometimes sneak off to sit in the students study hall just to watch some people my own age, drink hot chocolate and play the jukebox - I liked to hear White Riot, Pretty Vacant (old, nostalgic, reminded me of home) but it was the hey day of Green Day and Hole so we listened to them as well. I learned that if you're a meat eater its a bad idea to reheat hamburgers in the microwave because they tend to decrease in size by two-thirds and come out floating in a pool of fat (totally grossed me out - was quite a few years into my vegetarianism by then).

So anyway, Wisconsin in the winter is more freezing than this. It got cold around November and never warmed up before I left in March. But it was bearable because of the clear blue cloudless skies that allowed the sun to shine. It was nice to sit for a moment in the sun letting the feeble rays warm your eyelids.

I suppose I should mention the snow. Wisconsinites love the snow. It beautifies the landscape (and it does really it does). But I'm from a temperate climate. The joy of snow wears off very quickly. And although I wasn't expected to actually do it, the whole turn the car engine on, scrape the windscreen, clear the drive and sidewalk before 6.30 every winter morning made me grumpy.

Its been very dry and freezing here and I was suprised to see a frozen stream of water sparkling in the gutter on the way up my street.

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