09 January 2004

Brrrrrrrrrrrr.... The Discontent Of Our Winter, or
      Baby, It's F*$king Cold Outside!

      After what seemed a surprisingly mild introduction, winter has now set in with a vengeance. No, none of the pretty brown snow so typical of southern Ontario, but instead we've been assaulted with the skin-tightening chill that has, with midday near, temperatures in the -20C range, with a windchill factor that makes the temperature something more akin to -31 to -35C. (Of course this happens after I've abandoned my swarthy Celtic look; it makes me think there was something to the Samson story after all.) It is, as they say, colder than a Thatcher's teat out there, even if, thankfully, it's not as incapacitatingly frigid as it now is in Northern Ontario, Northern Quebec, and New Broomstick. Last night, the temperature fell to about -27C, combined with an ear-splintering windchill that made the temperature seem more like -40C. Worse, it seems it'll be like this for at least the rest of the weekend. I really hope all of the local alley cats are managing to find some sort of shelter from this deep freeze.

      As I write this, I'm reminded all too well of a report a few years ago that said that of the world capitals, Ottawa was the second coldest national capital in the world, on average warmer only than Ulan Bator in Mongolia. No wonder we Canadians spend so much time dithering and doddering about the weather, and asking mock-stoical questions like "Cold enough for ya?" whenever we're gathered at bus stops or coffee shops. Most parts of Canada are known for their schizophrenic temperatures, ranging from blistering cold in the deeps of winter to the thick, sweat-inducing humidity of summer, and I sometimes wonder if that's part of the sustained Canadian provinciality; restraint and self-ensconcement seems to be the necessary order of the day when one doesn't really know what the weather will be like from day to day. At least we're not usually treated to the more histrionic weather conditions-- typhoons, hurricanes, tornadoes, and so forth-- that most other parts of the world know all too intimately. Or, perhaps, those typhoons, hurricanes and tornadoes may just find Canada too damned cold in which to crack their vacationing cheeks. When the weather's like this, my rib cage feels like a set of Venetian blinds fluttering spasmatically about in a blizzard. Oh, for more temperate climes. Oh, how I long to establish the Doctor J School For Literary Studies at Barbados.... Sounds like a noble intellectual project, n'est-ce pas? Feel free to send your donations to Doctor J courtesy of....

This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen.

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