vendredi 16 février 2007


You know that it's a real Maine winter (i.e. not a mild El Nino fakeout) when:

Taking a shower at the start of the day before going to school makes your hair freeze like icicles - after a whopping one minute of waiting for the bus. The girls were the first to complain about this, getting their hair frozen while walking from their cars in the parking lot into the school building, but then it started affecting me too.

Your mouth is made so cold while walking home from the bus stop that a glass of cold tap water feels lukewarm. The effect is rather like recovering from anaesthesia, or from a mild pufferfish dose.

The cold allows you to build up so much static electricity on average that you can get shocked by the metal tray at the school salad bar ... through a wet lettuce leaf. Ten seconds later, you get shocked again. Thinking about getting that memory upgrade for your computer? A no-no at this time of year.

The wind chills regularly dip below the equivalent of -25 degrees Celsuis. I don't even dare grab the railing while trying to gain my footing on the icy steps of my apartment: the metal is so painfully cold, I fear that I'll get my hand stuck to it.

Hello harsh winter ... in mid-February. February is traditionally when winter starts letting up and begins giving way to spring. Or at least that was what I was taught in first grade. I really think we'll be getting snowstorms in April this year.

Yesterday in fact (or two or three days ago, depending on POV), we received the mother of all snowstorms, the nor'easter. The local media called it one, but I guess it was because it was so huge - it affected almost the entire eastern seaboard, from Maine to New Orleans, that a more general term was applied instead. What a macro system! Apparently snowstorms in the north can create temperature difference gradients that cause tornadoes in Louisiana.

When I woke up that morning, what a sight! It was like waking up in the middle of a ice hurricane. The snowstorm had been predicted in the news for a week beforehand. A large low-pressure anomaly accumulating ice and snow in the Midwest is probably hard to miss. But I had expected to go to school, but when I opened the window, oh boy, I should have taken a photo - the sky was overcast and the snow was blowing around in such a manner that the outdoors looked like a soup of snowflakes being stirred.

It looked fun to go out there and wait for the bus - it would have at least been interesting. I've never waited for the bus with the others with blowing snowflakes before, amidst a cloudy sky while the snow still reflects so much light it looks like it's glowing.

But there is a certain feeling of comfiness to be inside and warm whether a blizzard or monsoon rages outside - I know this from living in Singapore. Somehow, if the outside conditions are more uncomfortable than normal, we feel more comfy even though our inside conditions haven't changed. This is better yet, when the outside conditions aren't that bad either: it must be the precipation-storm aspect. For example, I would not feel more cozy being air-conditioned while looking at a dust-storm. You can dance in the rain, or play in the snow - this coziness perhaps not all counterintuitive at all. But yet we feel more comfortable when we haven't even experienced the storm (i.e. get soaked or get blizzarded).

I did not make very good use of my snow day. I ended up playing and slacking off when I should have been doing homework.

Now, it is Thursday night. Or Friday morning. I'm not writing with too much clarity. The workload is tremendous: each of the four periods tomorrow each have some sort of project due. History's Huey Long thing; French has the script due and two other assignments; physics the lab, and Calc the test corrections on top of general homework. And I'm writing this, only because I should get it over with. Friday evening signals the start of vacation week. I wait in earnest.

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