Not Just 'Cold'
Did you know that Inuit Alaskans have over twelve hundred ways of saying the simple word ‘snow’? Crazy, right? That’s because it’s not true. I know that it’s a very high number though, and I want you to remember that as I take you on a journey through my complaints about the winter months.
As a born and raised Michigander, I know cold. She’s an old friend. I don’t want to say that we don’t get along, but I also do. I’ve lived in various parts of the easterly Midwest for my entire life, and if there’s one thing that I have found true, it’s that saying, “It’s cold” has never sufficiently gotten my point across. Yelling doesn’t work either, nor does adding in colorful profanity here and there. So, I’m going to give you some situations, and then suggest words that I feel better describe them than, ‘cold’.
You’re at a football game and your team is playing in a regrettable manner. It starts to rain a little bit. The sun goes down. The wind begins to blow. The game is nearing the end of the fourth quarter and it seems that everybody in the stands and on the field is ready to call it quits. Ready to take the loss, you begin to look forward to the end of this huge disappointment. Then, in a freak rush of intensity, your team manages to tie up the game in the last second of the fourth quarter. You feel a rush of happiness so abrupt that you laugh out loud and scream in your neighbors face. Then, suddenly, you realize what this means: overtime.
Suggested phrases: criminally brisk, puntingly painful, the next ice age
You are twelve years old, and your parents recently ‘invested’ in a set of snowmobiles. You ride on the back of your mom’s, seated on a slightly higher level. She begins to go faster to keep up with your dad and your heart races, bright-eyed and nervous. Thirty minutes later, you realize you can barely wiggle your toes due to numbness. Panic ensues, images of frostbitten toes and missing limbs dancing through your head from all that CSI your dad should have turned off when you came in the living room. Your twelve-year-old brain is almost positive that frostbite is now fate.
Suggested phrases: stiffly inhospitable, too frozen to figure anything out
You’re in Chicago at Christmas time, and you decide to go out Christmas shopping with your family. Everything is going very well for the most part – collecting presents, analyzing potential stocking stuffers, the whole bit. But then, you have to go back to the hotel. You have to go outside. The wind appears to have grown even more bitter since you initially entered the store, and now you take tense steps toward the revolving door. The first moment outside feels like the worst initially, but you grow accustomed to it within 30 seconds. Then, after turning the corner, the wind takes your face by such surprise that your nose immediately goes numb and tears begin streaming out of your eyes only to freeze on your bright red cheeks.
Suggested phrases: unfairly frostbitten, the revenge of Macy’s past, the stocking equivalent of coal
So you see, winter is lovely. You have a couple of football games left, you get to play outside with your friends and family, and best of all, you have the holidays. However, God doesn’t give with two hands, and the weather outside becomes frightful. Imagine Jack Frost not only nipping at your nose but at your heels and tips of your toes as well.
It’s not just ‘cold’.