January 29, 2016 • CULTURE
On Winter in the South
In Chicago, the locals joke about the two seasons of Cook County: winter and three months of lousy skating.
Southerners enjoy a touch more variety—something like eight months of blistering heat, two weeks of orange and red leaves, and an abbreviated period of damp cold.
Still, the long stretch of mid-January to late February is rough on us all. You know winter in the South has come when. . .
- You want to break out the pom pom hat your cousin got you for Christmas, but you don’t want to turn the air conditioner back on just to show off some accessories. (On second thought, maybe you do. . .)
- You get depressed when you have to give up eating al fresco and snoozing on the sleeping porch shortly after Thanksgiving.
- You pour a teaspoon of table salt on every flake that falls from the sky. Better safe than sorry—that stuff really accumulates fast.
- You have to wait until at least ten o’clock in the morning to walk your pup. After all, you don’t want to be out before the temperature hits sixty; he gets chilly!
- Your default topics of conversation with everyone from your mom to the checkout girl at Piggly Wiggly are bitter complaints about the frigid cold and creative repartee about how much worse the weather is than this time last year.
- Your kids are home from school because it’s just too cold to wait outside for the bus. The whole district closes when the mercury dips below 40 degrees, just as a precaution.
- The moment you hear about possible precipitation (or even just a cold front moving in), you sprint to the grocery to stock up on bread and milk. Nothing like a fridge full of perishables to make you feel truly prepared for whatever may come.
- Despite what your cute scarf and sweater might imply, you still have the fan on inside the house.
Okay, so our neighbors to the north may have us beat on cold weather survival tactics. Call us back in July when they’re sweating in mere 95 degree heat. We’ll be waiting with sweet tea and sympathy.