Now that the holidays are past and the cliche greeting of “Are you ready for Christmas” is packed up for another 11 months, we have moved to the “Is it cold enough for you?” greeting.
In a diverse and opinionated nation where differences (politics, religion, and positions on immigration, gun control, and SEC football) often divide us, we always have weather as the common ground to unite us.
But if you detest the trite and true and you want to keep others off-balance, then join me in trying some of these responses:
Receptionist: Is it cold enough for you?
Ramon: This is nothing. When I lived in Saskatchewan I had to break the ice layer off the creek so I could bathe before school.
Barista: Is it cold enough for you?
Ramon: I have a nerve disease so I can’t feel cold or heat. Can you put some ice cubes in my cappuccino?
Waitress: Is it cold enough for you?
Ramon: Yep. In fact the ground’s so hard we’re gonna have to wait till Spring to bury the cat.
I have several friends who live in Colorado and I find their comment about cold weather amusing: “Sure, it’s really cold here in the winter …but it’s a dry cold.” Huh? What’s their point?
I cannot recall ever hearing someone say, “It was 10 below zero when I skied off the side of the mountain, hit some trees, and fell unconscious into a snow bank. It was so cold that when rescuers found me two days later I had such severe frostbite that my hands and feet had to be amputated. But it was a dry cold.”
But people in Arizona say something similar when it’s 107 degrees in July. “I got 3rd degree burns when I put both hands on the steering wheel … but it’s a dry heat.”
Get Thee to a Kroger
A few Fridays ago I was shoveling a few inches of “mostly cloudy” from my sidewalk and driveway. I’m wondering if the people responsible for weather forecasting might be the same folks who conduct voter polls and predict election outcomes.
The surprise snow had us retreating into our 2-story red brick shells like scared turtles … but not before we raided the grocery stores of bread and milk. Even people who are lactose intolerant anti-gluten activists suddenly feel compelled to rush to Kroger for two gallons of milk and a loaf of honey wheat sandwich bread.
Why always bread and milk? So if the power goes out and the roads become icy death traps preventing us from getting to Starbucks, are we going to huddle for warmth and pass around bread slices and cups of milk? Folks, let me give you some advice: if you’re ever facing the possibility of being stranded in your home with teenagers for more than 3 hours the main thing you want to make sure you don’t run out of is toilet paper. Trust me on this.
Speaking of winter road conditions, you know that the Northern transplants among us have just been waiting for the first half-inch blizzard so they can once again tell us how Southerners don’t know how to drive in the snow. I could be wrong but I’m guessing that the 30-car pileup in New Hampshire and the 150-vehicle melee in Michigan in 2015 were not comprised of 180 drivers from Mississippi just passing through on their way to Canada. Northerners like to imagine that they are experts at driving on ice as though they’re all Zamboni operators.
Here in the South we do not turn our major highways into massive demolition derbies. Instead, when confronted with slippery asphalt we Dixie drivers do one of three things quite soon after leaving our neighborhoods and certainly before venturing onto the highway.
1) Gently and politely slide into the car ahead of us, or 2) Slide off into a ditch, or 3) Simply abandon our car on the side of the road (or in the road) and start walking home … or to a grocery store.
Ramon Presson, PhD, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Franklin (www.ramonpressontherapy.com) and the author of several books. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.