Column: Winter has to come sometime
A little more than two months ago I wrote in this space about the arrival of winter in Minnesota and the predictable howls of disappointment and surprise that accompanied it.
As snow fell and bitter winds blew, I pointed out, insightfully I thought, that while we all might complain, we should all know by now that winter is an inevitability in a state where snowmobiling is a popular pastime and thousands of people think it's a good idea to sit on a frozen lake in hopes of pulling a slimy, scaly wriggly critter out of a hole in the ice despite the fact it would be so much easier to just buy a fillet o' fish.
You know what you're not going to catch when you go ice fishing? A side order of fries.
Complaining about the arrival of winter in Minnesota is like complaining about CBS renewing Two and a Half Men. You know it's going to happen. It's just, instead of Ashton Kutcher you get the constant threat of frostbite. Which, honestly, might be preferable.
I thought it was a perfectly reasonable column at the time. I was wittily -- well, to my mind at least -- poking fun of Minnesotans' annual anguish over the return of cold weather. I pointed out that snow in November should hardly come as a surprise in a state where everyone really ought to have their winter coats ready to go anytime after mid-August.
I'm not so sure now, though. Because here we are in the second half of January and, at least as I write this, snow is thin on the ground. The snow that fell in November was gone by Thanksgiving. I went for a long bike ride on Thanksgiving Day. I rode my bike again Christmas weekend. And again on New Year's Eve. I hardly even needed gloves.
Nevermind shovels and skis. I'm thinking about stocking up on swim trunks.
There are plenty of people who are thrilled with the surprisingly warm winter. They like being able to go outside without a heavy jacket. 50-degree temperatures in January are a welcome sight. They've been working on their tans.
Meanwhile, snowmobiliers are getting twitchy throttle hands and die-hard ice-fishermen are consoling themselves by filling their bathtubs with ice cubes and perching on a bucket at the top of the pile.
At least, I assume that's what they're doing. I don't think I'll ever really understand ice fishermen.
I'm mostly OK with this unseasonable weather. I haven't had a chance to go cross country skiing this year, but no snow means no shoveling, which I appreciate like Ricky Gervais appreciates an opportunity to make easy jokes about celebrities.
For the record, I also appreciate opportunities to make easy jokes about celebrities. It's one of the main reasons I started writing this column.
This could all change quickly, of course. Weather forecasters who spent Monday night telling us significant snow was on the way spent much of Tuesday explaining how narrowly the snow missed the Twin Cities. Forecasts of the season's coldest temperatures have me worried my heating bills will soon return to typical winter levels.
See? Winter is inevitable. I was right all along.