In a random weather survey, I learned that, in spite of low temperatures in the midwest, my brother in Chicago finds humor in the conditions there. There are “invisible patches of ice in random spots on the sidewalks which, I must admit, bring a little comedy into the bleak winter days. Something about slipping on ice launches the entire body. All four limbs flailâ€¦and parcels shoot off in all directions. Come to think of it, you’d like it here.”
(He’s right. Due to a perverse sense of humor, I find the sight of people slipping on icy or wet sidewalks side-splittingly funny. One rainy day in L.A., while cruising down Ventura Boulevard, I witnessed a neat-as-a-pin guy with a designer umbrella fall flat on his ass, and I laughed so hard I had to pull over. I wonder if I’ll be a Heaven Reject due to poor attitude.)
Another brother in Arizona says it rains so infrequently there that he can’t remember where his mud boots are. A third brother lives five miles from me so I don’t need him to tell me that it was 85Âº here for ten days straight in January, setting a record. This made us all irritable; it just felt wrong. It’s now plummeted to 60Âº and we are experiencing a thing called humidity.
My sister in N.Y. says it’s dipping to 0Âº on Monday so she’s making beef stew. A daughter in Providence refuses to leave her college dorm (too cold) and is asking me to send her food supplies. A friend in Winnipeg says it’s 30Âº below and she wishes she were a bear (she’d hibernate), while Cousin Sarah says it’s 10Âº in Stockholm and the general gray is relieved only when the sun sets at at 4 p.m. and the sky is briefly orange.
Butâ€¦.my sister in Alaska reports the most dramatic weather.Â Where she lives, near Fairbanks, it was fifty degrees below zero for two weeks. She could only go out for ten minutes at a time, covered completely except for eyeballs. Then, one night last week, the temperature shot up to 50Âº above and there were 100 m.p.h. winds. They lost one hundred trees and one sheep. (Can we find a way to blame this on Sarah Palin?)
By contrast, the most bland weather report comes from my friend Hannah, who points out that in Florida, the water and air are the same temperature: 72Âº. It must be weird to live in a place where nobody complains about the weather.