Have We Become Cold Weather Wimps?

It’s wintertime and here we are living with temperatures hovering around -30C.  With windchill the number goes up…I mean down.  Windchill factors the impact of the wind into the whole deal and in winter it never means warmer.  There have been some interesting comments about how Canadians are now informed about winter temperatures. 

You know you are of a certain vintage when you say “You think this is cold? Why, when  I was a kid…”.  And you blather on about things way back when. Some of it could be “retrospective bias” but that’s never stopped some of us from talking about it.  

As I sit here with my second cup of hot coffee on a morning when the windchill factor makes it feel like -35,  I am running through my memory of just how cold it was and how you knew it was cold (these memories are of winters in Saskatchewan-on the Canadian prairies):

  • there was a buffalo blanket (really!) to snuggle underneath, a wood stove and a furnace stoked by coal in our small farm house.  It was cool, cool, cool in the morning until Dad got up and got the place heated up once again.
  • Dad owned a weighty coat and hat made of buffalo hide.  I wonder now just how much that coat weighed.  
  • there was frost shield on the kitchen window in order to see when the school bus arrived.  Otherwise the window was opaque-all frosted up-from the inside.  I can’t even find a picture of a frost shield on the internet..am I THAT old?
  • clothes hung outside came back in stiff as a board
  • every winter someone stuck there tongue on some outdoor metal structure at school.
  • you had to let vehicles run for a long time before driving.  The seats were covered in some unforgiving plastic and when you sat on them it was like sitting on a block of ice.  Tires were “square” when you started to drive.  Bump, bump, bump.  Why aren’t they like that now when you start out on a winters day?
  • cardboard would be inserted between the vehicles grill and radiator so the car would   become warm enough to operate decently.  Otherwise your vehicle could freeze up when you are on the road.  With the possibility of deadly consequences.  
  • your nostrils would sort of freeze together if you inhaled too forcefully and tears…well they could freeze on your cheeks. 
  • no polartec, no HotShot handwarmers, but lots of layers and wool and mittens upon mittens.

We survived and thrived.  Without knowing about the windchill factor.

If you have known the very cold, what are your recollections?  

 Oh, and by the way I don’t plan to go out today because it’s too cold.


Boarding announcements

If you have occasion to travel by commercial airline and if you have done so for some time you will notice the difference in boarding announcements over the years. I mean those announcements telling you when it’s time to come to the gate, present your boarding pass and walk to the airplane.

Way back when they would call for people who needed more time to get to the plane and those traveling with young children to board first. Then along the way there came the different types of seats ie business class and then travellers who had earned special status for traveling a lot of miles. They boarded first.

Now they have so many categories it’s actual funny.

I think the people who pay the most go first now so the schpiel is something like this:

Calling all passengers whose work paid for them to be in business class-come right up
Calling all passengers who travelled so much in the aforementioned category that they’ve earned a seat in business class with their rewards, come right up
Calling all passengers who have our gold level card please come forward
All passengers with our silver level card please come up
All passengers who were born with a silver spoon in their mouths please step forward
All passengers who are anticipating an inheritance of over $100,000 and expect to travel a lot with us afterward come on up.
All passengers whose stock portfolio is on the rise please board now

Then there’s the call for those who need more time to walk to the plane and those with small childreni.

The service attendant then looks around the lounge and says all remaining passengers please board now. And I’m the only one left.