I Survived the American Artic, and All I Got Was This Lousy Frostbite
Living in a building from 1910 has its advantages. You get to experience what life was like about 108 years ago. That is also one of the disadvantages of living in such a house. It’s poorly insulated, lacks central heat, and seems to be a sponge for humidity. With ice on the windowpanes (indoors) and on the front living room wall (also indoors), I realized I may soon part ways with the swinging bachelor pad. For in truth, no swinging has taken place here. Jane Austen would be bored, and Austen Powers would be disappointed.
You may ask yourself, “Just how cold was it?”
Well, over this past week, we experienced in the Northeastern U.S., what I call Polar Vortex II: Ice Cold Boogaloo. This is a reference to the literal arctic temps we experienced about three years ago. It was then colder in Mars, Pennsylvania, than it was on the surface of the planet Mars. Or, at least, parts of Canada turned into the Great White North for real. This past week, we had a return to the polar regions. It was so cold, John Carpenter called, and asked if he could make a sequel to The Thing in my kitchen. I even had the Kurt Russell beard for a few days. It was an attempted to literally save my skin from the crackling cold.
Other evidence of such temperatures involved the portrait of Jane Austen that hangs above my bed. I thought to myself, “It’s far too cold for a short-sleeved dress in this weather.” I felt I should have put a scarf around the frame.
I slept in my bathrobe, as it added extra warmth. I was able to imagine a Regency winter, and how a real fire place, versus the gas-powered one I have, would have kept this place warmer…albeit smokier.
The next best thing was using three space heaters to try and evaporate the fine sheen of ice that formed on that front living room wall. It worked, but I will pay a heavy price for it. I saw the utility bill, and discovered it was the gross domestic product of Bhutan. Those monks and their extravagance!
I felt the cold in my fingers as I read about Henry VIII, and his six wives. I wondered if Hampton Court would be cozy this time of year. Then I thought of all those layers His Majesty and his lovely brides had worn. Even with a scowl on his face, King Hal looked more robust than I felt. I wanted to feast to the sound of lutes, rackets, and bawdy maids on the dance floor. Such pleasures are not to be found on Ice Mountain. No, sir. Instead, I entertained myself by toggling between BBC 2, and 6. This was pretty close to what I had in mind.
Wardrobe is a big thing in temperatures like this. I wore snow trousers, a parka, and my new Chelsea boots. I certainly hoped Chelsea didn’t mind. She’s a generous girl, and the loan of her footwear was no…small feat. After, an entire part of London is named for her. She must be a popular girl.
I thought of how much colder it was here, than it was in London. -11 centigrade over here. 15 degrees centigrade is a heatwave. 15 degrees Fahrenheit is five degrees below freezing. On the last night of the deep freeze, the temperatures lowered to -5F. The mild weather we have now, in the 30’s feels like a defrosting by comparison.
Not to sound like an old man, but the winters in my youth were snow-filled, but not as cold. Sure, we had the occasional six degree day. But it was rare that we had a week-long ice age, followed by autumnal temperatures. These past seven years, we’ve had mild Decembers, followed by snow in January, and then a quick warm up. If you think global warming is a myth, I’ll bet you my electric bill that it isn’t. You lose, you pay it. That’s a bet I’m willing to take.
Copyright Riley Joyce 2018
Imagine: public domain snowflakes.
Imagine: public domain snowflakes.