by Garrett Coble
Mother Nature really knows how to ruin a good time. After trudging through the gauntlet of finals, most students anxiously anticipate the freedom that Christmas break offers. In the weeks leading up to said break, fellow students giddily proclaimed plans to visit the beach and other places that lend well to enjoying the mildness of the southern winter. Around my region, we anticipate the cold, instead planning to sled, build snowmen and find the perfect Christmas tree. Unfortunately, Mother Nature brought a full onslaught of winter weather and left no doubt of the impossibility of such outdoor activities. The only real question is whether she is apathetic or downright conniving.
I vote conniving.
Most of you likely know that the region I alluded to earlier is the Midwest, specifically Nebraska. Thus, you are probably expecting me to admonish the frailty of southerners regarding the cold. While I won’t fully pass up such an opportunity, I must admit my own hesitation regarding this last winter storm, the infamous polar vortex.
The title of vortex seemed much better at communicating the intensity of the cold: At one point, every single reporting weather station in both Nebraska and Iowa registered negative temperatures. A friend of mine reported snow drifts in northern North Dakota as high as the roof of his house, only serving to make the unfailing happiness of our Canadian neighbors that much more perplexing. How anyone can endure such conditions boggles my mind. As my truck heater failed (due to the -40-degree wind-chill) and my extremities went numb, I began to appreciate the same Mississippi climate that I had spent the summer months cursing.
Once the scorching temperatures break and fall starts to set in, what better place could one live? Even the more Scrooge-minded amongst the student body ran around in joy, entertaining small snowmen and snowball fights, after last year’s dusting of snow. Furthermore, if the temperature falls below the 40-degree mark, officials consider cancelling everything and shutting down the city. If it falls below that threshold and someone merely spits on the streets, cancellation is a certainty. All the errands you’ve put off for days become significantly easier as most of Jackson boards up the windows and cancels all plans. Those that are forced to go out move hesitantly. On a related note, I feel there is a significant market for a “frozen” taxi service, one specifically formulated to shuttle Jacksonians around during possible freezing conditions. Perhaps the Else School should look into it.
Not everyone withered during this vortex. Major news networks thrived solely by plugging expert after expert onto the screen to either dispute or confirm climate change. Occasionally a meteorologist intervened to explain how this latest cold snap fell short of being a polar vortex, but his claims fell on frozen, unlistening ears. Interestingly, the record high temperatures experienced in South America have received much less airtime. Regardless of your stance on global warming/climate change, there was no escape from the cold, even for the seasoned veterans amongst us. Following the aforementioned failure of my truck’s heater and the accompanying brush with frostbite, I even donned a pair of mittens on the coldest day.
That’s right. Mittens. It was cold.