This morning greeted me with a temperature of minus-27 degrees.
That's the kind of cold that smacks you in the face and calls you a name. Challenges you to stand up again to be belted one more time.
It's cold enough that when you sit in your car seat, the butt doesn't settle because it's frozen. Then my car wouldn't start. As I turned the key, all I could hear was an odd noise. "Scru u u u u u u you u u u u u u."
So I called work on my second day to get a ride in, all of 1.1 miles from my hotel to the newspaper office and worked on getting someone to give me a jump. (To others outside of northern climates, that's not an obscenity. It's where one person hooks up cables from one vehicle to another to give the disabled car a little electrical goose, as it were.)
Jumper cables are the umbilical cord of the Nort'woods. They sustain fragile life.
On the ride in, I saw some construction workers driving nails with frozen bananas, like that winter battery commercial of 30 years ago.
Talk at work concerned who had the lowest reading on outdoor thermometers. The winner came at minus-30 degrees.
My car wouldn't start, I said.
My eyeball cracked, said someone else.
Two fingers froze solid and fell off, said another.
Of course no one said anything like that -- except for me.
These are a hearty people and I need to return to their ethos. One does not complain, even if an eyeball is cracked or fingers fall off. You see someone with such conditions, you say, "How you doing?" They say, "Good -- and you?"
It's 30-below-zero and life goes on. You go to work. Attend to your duties. Maybe go out for a beer -- when having a 35-degree bottle of beer is akin to having a hot-buttered rum. It's 60 degrees warmer than the temperature outside.
I put gasoline in my car after work -- along with an ISO-HEET to keep the gas from freezing, and yes gas freezes -- and it took 30 minutes and one Manhattan for me to stop shaking.
Yet I'm blessed. I'm working in a business I love in a place I love.
Peace and warmth unto all of you my brothers and sisters.