Column: Weathering the weather talk
It seems like only yesterday we Minnesotans were complaining about weather that was unseasonably cold and gloomy. Where, we wondered, was the spring we were promised. Then the last week of May came and we couldn't find enough people to complain to about how miserable it was.
In the space of just over a week we went from dealing with concerns over late-breaking seasonal affective disorder to the kind of sunny, humid weather that makes it feel like you could steam rice on the deck.
Given the tone of small talk across the state we were miserable the entire time.
There's an old saying I like to use in situations like this: "If you don't like the weather in Minnesota, wait ten minutes. Then tell someone else, because I don't want to hear about it."
When you live in Minnesota, there is frequently reason to complain about the weather. Weather here tends toward the extreme. We can go from blast chiller to blast furnace, sometimes within 48 hours. We tend to take pride in the cold end of that spectrum, holding it up as evidence we're hardier than other parts of the country where temperatures within five degrees of freezing are cause to hole up inside and prepare for end days.
We flaunt our cold-weather acclimation by sitting on frozen lakes and trying to pull frigid fish through a hole in the ice, a sport that, given my limited experience, exists solely so we can rub our cold weather in Missouri's face every once In a while.
Given the choice, I guess I'd rather be too cold than too hot. I can always bundle up to get warmer, but social convention and my employer's dress code preclude me from going too far in the other direction.
Trust me, I've tried. It was made abundantly clear to me Topless Top Tuesday was a one-time event.
Besides, given the fact I have no air conditioning in my home and the AC in my car appears to have given up the ghost sometime over the winter I don't have many comfortable places to go when we get weather like we got late last month. A fan only does so much to make my bedroom tolerable for sleeping, and opening the window in my car just seems to end up with hot air blowing in my face.
The hot weather isn't all bad, of course. I live in an old house that's as prone to unwanted drafts as a lactose intolerant farmer at the State Fair's milk booth. I look forward each year to the end of heating-bill season. Since I'm not powering an air conditioner, my warm-weather energy bill is a fraction of my winter bill. A few of my nights are a little uncomfortable, but the money I save on natural gas pays for a lot of cool drinks.
Last month's unbearably muggy day is hardly the last we'll experience this summer. By the end of August we'll all feel like we've been through a dry cleaner's steam press. We'll have used up every tool we can think of to keep ourselves cool and we'll be praying for fall.
And when that first cold day shows up, we'll all be miserable.