Chill Out on Whining About the Weather
Dealing with the cold is a challenge of mind over matter, simply don’t dwell on it
Yes, it’s January in the Chicago suburbs, so it’s cold. We know that.
Even if you just landed from the tropics, you know it’s cold here. And while some freakish warm air may move in for a day or two, chances are it will be below freezing with a fair amount of snow and ice every day, all month. Like always.
I don’t mind the cold so much — I don’t work outdoors after all. It’s talking about it constantly that gets under my shivering skin. You know what I mean.
And if someone is talking to you from a warmer part of the country, they always ask, “Why would you live there? It’s so cold!” As if the temperature outside is the top factor in every major life decision.
Yes, this month, it seems every greeting with your neighbor from the driveway and every hello from a co-worker starts in pretty much the same fashion. It is always about the cold weather. It’s as if the rest of the world and all its joys and tragedies are erased and all that we can think about is the polar vortex and what it means to us.
The piling on — snow pun intended — regarding all the cold misery only makes you dwell more on how cold it is. It doesn’t make you any warmer. Only hot chocolate, a seat by the heater, or a snuggle under a heated blanket can do that.
So instead of commiserating, deflect these tiresome cold questions like an arctic blast and refuse to engage in the cold complaining that takes over all polite interactions and dominates every conversation through January. Here are some suggested responses to put the chill on all the cold talk.
“Is it cold enough for you?” Try this answer: “I don’t know what you mean. I’m not cold at all. I consider this weather balmy.”
“It’s so cold out.” How about this response: “It’s a good thing I have heat at home!”
“I’m freezing!” What if you say: “I’m going to build a fire tonight.” “You just can’t bundle up enough to stay warm in this weather.” Consider this: “Maybe work from home, order dinner from a delivery service, and turn on the electric blanket tonight.”
“I haven’t been this cold in years.” Answer: “It was 128° below zero in Antarctica on July 21, 1983. Now that’s cold. We’re lucky!”
“I just can’t seem to get warm.” Response: “Remember how hot it was this summer? It was even hotter in July, 1999, when it got to be 104°.”
“I hate the cold!” Reply: “I love it. It reminds me how lucky I am to own socks and a coat.”
“I wish I could escape to Florida or Arizona like my friends this winter.” You can answer: “I’m saving on airfare and air-conditioning bills. Plus the expressways are much less crowded this month, I get to work faster. Even the trains are not crowded!”
Maybe you’re not like me, but I believe whining about the weather gets old and cold. I tell people that when it is cold, you can always add on another layer to battle the chill. You cannot, however, take off your skin when it is over 100°. So this kind of weather extreme you can control.
My goal in the inevitable cold talk is to try to distract by diving into other topics — maybe not politics, because that could get overheated pretty quickly. You can go on and on about a recent book or movie. Just don’t mention the weather. At all.
Yes, the weather is tedious and treacherous and downright cold. But talking about it will not make it improve or make it any more tolerable. Consider this a challenge of mind over matter.
You are not ignoring how freezing your fingertips and toes are, you are choosing not to dwell on it. Because where can the cold conversation go except in icy circles to nowhere? I say stop the teeth-chattering talk and avoid even a mention of you know what. Because we know all about it and do not need the reminder. That’s the cold, hard truth.