Thursday, December 11, 2008

True North, Cold and Free

I feel that those who have never lived in Winnipeg need a description of cold. I'm a transplant here, and so, I'm one of the best to spread the word. The reason for that is that Winnipeggers have grown up with the cold of Southern Manitoba and outsiders call this place Winterpeg, but have never experienced the true meaning of that word.

I also have some new perspective on the winter wind as I'm now seeing another transplant in slow evolution. Watching another person go from squealing at the biting nip of the North wind to laughing in the face of Ole Man Winter brings me back to 2 years ago.

One of the first memories I have of cold is in the Jetway at the airport here, when I came in for an interview for residency. Walking out the door of the plane visitors are hit by a guillotine of cold. Worse yet, when I left it was on a small plane. In that case one has to walk across the tarmac and get on the plane...a cold goodbye. Adding insult to injury, the plane door stays open and only a gaping curtain covers the door to keep the cold out. Not a great way to leave warm-hearted memories of a great town!

Ice Crystals -- Sounds like a type of diamond or some mythical castle. In reality it is a meteorological term. I think, after 3 winters here it means snow without clouds. Although I haven't had a scientific explanation of the phenomenon, I think that it basically means 'so cold the air is freezing'. I Never heard of that in Ontario?

Finally, until you have filled up your gas tank in frigid temperatures you don't understand cold! When the car is turned off you feel the slow creep of the cold first on your ankles, slowly climbing up your legs. As the gas tank needle edges towards full it seems like it is not indicating the level of the fuel, but rather the temperature inside the car or the height of your goose bumps. The only thing that's worse is self service! Get out your gloves!

That being said, I love the winter here. The scrunch of snow is something I miss when it's not there. I love skating up the river and shooting around the puck on a frozen rink. It's another experience as far as I'm concerned.


Shannon said...

I would not be at all surprised if full serve gas service was invented in Winnipeg. Even folks from Saskatchewan have a healthy respect for Winterpeg.

Karyn's thoughts! said...

You should be a spokeperson for Manitoba winters because right now I think you are the only one who has good things to say about this crazy weather.

Today I was considering staying overnight at the hospital and working the night shift just so I would not have to go out into the cold.

Dr. Jesse Shantz said...

After pumping gas about 10 minutes ago I have to say that I think the cold even slows the flow. It felt like the numbers were ticking by at half-speed. Or maybe it was just my cold hand?

Karyn's thoughts! said...

There's a gas station called Co-op down the street that fills your tank for you AND you get cash back at the end of the year!