Those of us around Seattle are preparing for Arctic Blast ’08. Everyone is either at home from school and work, or waddling around town in their thickest items of clothing. Seattle hasn’t yet gotten the snow we have been told to expect at any moment, but it sure as shit is cold out there.
One of my favorite things about this cold weather in Seattle is how people who have come here from places like Chicago or the east coast talk shit about how we think 28 degrees is cold out. Well, assholes, it is cold. You see, if things are freezing and there is snow and ice, it’s probably cold out. Freezing doesn’t happen unless the temperature is cold. Maybe we don’t experience this and even colder temperatures for half the year like you do (yeah, I’m looking at you, UTAH), and that’s probably why it’s such a shock to the system when this happens and we are left with no real idea of how to manage our lives. I live on the middle of a steep hill, and the ice makes it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to walk it up or down to the bus in order to get to work or the store or anywhere not my garage, really. Last year we had a short spell of snow and ice and I barely made it to the next block before slipping and landing on my back, breaking my sweet Tootsie Pop lunch box in the process. Seattle has a lot of large hills that make it difficult for people to commute when things are icy and snowy and we also have limited snow plows and machinery on account of the fact that we don’t live our lives in a winter wonderland 7 months out of the year (Yeah, I’m talking about you, CANADA), so when you’re sitting on the Metro bus, jabbering into your phone about how people in Philly know what it means to live in a place that’s really cold, think about the people just like you who tried to drive to work last year from near my house and had to abandoned their cars all along the side of the hill after having smashed into the back of a car that tried to do it just before them.
In addition to the snow and the freezing and the cold, Janie has decided that at some point the power will go out and we’ll be totally fucked. Several years ago, when the Hanukkah Eve Wind Storm of 2006 hit Seattle, it knocked our power out for two nights. In some middle finger waving turn of events, everyone in our neighborhood had power but the side of one street, and that’s the side we happened to be living on. Janie and I sat huddled in our living room around a fire that really wasn’t doing anything other than looking pretty. We had all of our blankets piled on the the pull out couch where we shivered alongside our cats for several days. No lights. No heat. No showers. No hot dinners or tea. We had a flashlight and our love to keep from dying in a darkened ice cave. That Christmas, Janie’s parents bought us a small electrical generator that would provide light, a radio, a place to charge a cell phone and a device to jump start a vehicle. It also has a port for a plug, so we can work our electric tea kettle if need be. But Janie is somehow convinced that this small device will power our entire house. Yesterday she suggested we’d be able to power our refrigerator or the microwave. I tried to tell her it wasn’t likely that this small box was going to be able to do all the things she was saying, but she was having none of it. So if you’re in Seattle and the power goes out, feel free to come over and entertain yourselves around our useless fire as we watch Janie try to plug the oven in to bake a turkey.