That's What She Said: Winter Survival Tips
- Dawn Dumont | November 26, 2014
When I was kid we got kicked out of the house on Saturday afternoons to go “play outside.” We would bundle up in our snow-pants, jackets, boots and then just before heading into the great outdoors, we’d carefully place socks on our hands because mittens were for rich kids and wimps. My siblings and cousins would head right into the middle of the yard to make snow-angels, craft forts and dare each other to eat yellow snow.
But not me. I would huddle near the porch and sing songs like “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” until the sun went down and mom mercifully called us in for supper. The cold is my natural enemy (and, also this crazy chick who orders like three lattes at 830 in the morning – we all have to get to work, bitch!)
However winter is the curse of this particular climate so even if you hate winter with the fire of a thousand suns (ironically) you gotta suck it up and be a good sport. So this is why I smile and pretend that my hands aren’t curled into gnarled stumps from December to March. And for those of you who are like me (i.e. not descended from polar bears), here are some tips for winterizing your life.
Tip number one is: Be Winter-Rude. Us-freezing-cold-people can’t stand still in the cold, that’s like asking a fire not to burn or a hot gay guy not to steal your boyfriend. It can’t be done and there’s no use begging, cajoling or pleading to a sense of propriety. I will not and cannot stand outside just to shoot the shit. Thus I am winter-rude. When I pass by the smokers outside of work, enjoying their twenty-fifth smoke of the day, I hurry past and do not engage in conversation. I won’t smile because that expands the surface area of my lips and I won’t say hi because that will allow cold air into my mouth. I will nod but only because that movement creates extra heat. So, I am being rude but it’s only cold-temperature-specific. Say hi to me again in May.
Tip two is: Say No to Fakes. Our ancestors knew a good thing when they killed and skinned it. Animal skins and furs are warmer than a Jehovah Witness’ smile before you shut the door in their face. There’s plenty of dead animals to clothe oneself in, but sometimes I like to treat myself to the warmth of a live animal. Cuz there’s nothing like the heat of a fat house-cat draped around my neck. By the way, am I only the only person who looks at a Shih Tzu and thinks, “damn, you would make a really cute pair of boots?”
Tip three is: Never underestimate the heating power of rage or fear. In minus 20 weather, the only reason you should be outside is because you are running from an axe-murderer or you are an axe-murderer. If you must be outside and neither of these two options is at your disposal, I recommend crafting a ball from snow and throwing it at the nearest person – hard enough to make them really mad. The ensuing chase will keep you toasty warm.
Tip number four is a sad truth: You can look thin or you can be warm. Not both. This was a hard lesson to learn. Like all of you, I dreamt that someday I could be like Angelina Jolie in one of those Lara Croft movies where she’s on the frozen tundra driving a team of husky dogs clad only in a hooded cape that billows behind her (because the damned fool is wearing it wide open to the elements.) While filming Fish Out of Water in Churchill Manitoba, I spent the entire shoot wearing two pairs of pants, two shirts, a wool sweater, a parka, mukluks, and three pairs of socks. AND I was stuffing hotshots into my boots and down my shirt and pants to keep me warm. (Despite these precautions, I spent most of the shoot driving the director crazy by running into buildings in between shots.) So even though I looked like the Michelin Man’s chubby, older sister, I was still freezing my ass off. Sometimes you can’t win.
Tip number five of winterizing your soul is: Talking about the weather makes it worse. Because not only am I cold, I’m also bored listening to you compare this winter to the winter before to the winter a few years before that. Clearly information about previous winters only has relevance if you also have a time machine. But you don’t. Because if you did, I would have gone back in time to give you a face-wash before you began your grisly winter weather conversation. Also, the only good use for a Farmer’s Almanac is for burning in a fireplace.