the cut opinion pages

Embrace Your Friend, the Freezing Cold Temperature

Photo: Szabo Ervin-Edward/Getty Images/EyeEm

It was very cold in New York and elsewhere yesterday. Everybody was saying, “it’s cold” to each other. All of the group texts were like, “omfg,” “omg whyyyy,” “omg wtffff whyyyyyyyyyy.” Everybody’s Instagram story included the sticker function of the current temperature reading: one degree, or however many. Everybody was tweeting screenshots of the negative “windchill” and “RealFeel®” temperatures. It’s true — it was very cold.

It’s also very cold today. I have to admit I was angrier than usual on my morning dog walk. Why are you out here in my way when I’m just trying to do this and get inside?! I thought regarding people on the sidewalk, 30 feet ahead of me. Why are so many people outside now, walking?! I don’t know why I was so angry at these people, but I imagine it’s because: It was very cold outside.

My advice is, don’t be like me on that dog walk. The fact is that it’s almost spring, and then it will be summer. And where I live the temperatures have been milder than usual this winter. (I do not know where you live and I cannot be held accountable for any disparity; please fill in this paragraph with your own experience if it does not match mine.) Tomorrow, for example, it’s supposed to be 44 degrees. The next day: 56. I think it is becoming clear to you, through the anecdotal information in the previous sentences and perhaps the non-anecdotal information in other sentences you’ve read, that we have to embrace the cold where we can find it.

The cold: painful, bitter, refreshing, a wintertime treat. It’s so terrible, and everyone hates it so much, which is so nice, and I love it. It’s winter, baby, and it sucks, which is the best.

Writer Jo Livingstone recently wrote something at Jezebel about how “bad winter” is actually “good winter,” and I agree. Here is part of what they said:

How often does the world say—now, it is time to be away from other people? Never. We never hear that said out loud. The only thing that big-name annual events do (birthdays, “summer”) is demand your presence, your time, your company, your giving. It’s only in the unnamed slivers of the year that you can snatch the time you really need to understand who you are, away from the crowd.

Agree. This is part of why you should embrace the terrible cold that you hate: You get to be alone, inside. Do you want to get a drink after work? No, it’s too cold; you have to go home. Do you want to go and — no. Do you — no. What you want is to be alone, with your dog if you have one, maybe with a hot tea. Everyone understands this because it is also what they want. It is just too cold.

Also, like I said, it’s going to be warm soon. Some would say it’s going to be warm as soon as Wednesday of this week. It’s a shame. Being cold and wishing for summer is an essential part of winter. It’s what makes summer so sweet. It’s helps make life feel lived. If you never curse the painful sting of winter’s cold kiss, can you really tolerate the annoying burn of summer’s hot sun? I would say yes, of course you can, speaking not figuratively, but only kind of in a certain sense, which is non-ideal. Agree?

The cold is nice. You get to wear so many of your clothes. You get to come in from the cold and feel the warm air of indoors sooth your frozen skin. You get to take a deep breath and feel the fresh air in your lungs. You get to smell exhaust from a car, a good smell that smells best in cold air. You get to say “omggg it’s so cold!!,” and isn’t that fun? You get to have a very cold day.

Please don’t wish the cold away unthinkingly. Soon it will be very hot, and then, sometime after that, we will be dead.

Embrace Your Friend, the Freezing Cold Temperature