Sunday, January 26, 2003

Days of whine and noses

It's like a meat locker in the elevator, yet the man standing next to me thinks he needs to tell me that it's cold. I understand. Whining burns up calories, makes us feel a little warmer.We'd feel even better if we knew who to blame.

Mother Nature appears to be bitterly angry at somebody. Is she trying to shame people into taking down their Christmas decorations? Maybe if they'd remove those fake icicles from their eaves, she'd stop sending the real ones.

Or perhaps this is her response to the Bush administration's energy plan. Maybe she is protesting cloning. Could she be displeased about other unnatural acts, such as Al Sharpton and Jerry Springer in politics?

Whatever it is, let's fix it. Let's surrender. Unconditionally. Immediately. Before we are buried under a mound of Kleenex.

Doctors insist that you catch cold from germs, but I believe this is so we won't think they are trying to drum up more business when they make us sit around in paper dresses in drafty examining rooms. Sneezing and coughing and runny noses are not called "catching a cold" for nothing.

Channel 12 meteorologist Steve Horstmeyer, bless his heart, tries to make us feel better by wearing entertaining hats and explaining that it is colder elsewhere and trying to give us scientific reasons why we're freezing.

We don't care.

If it's 12 degrees below zero in Fargo, that's their problem. And we are not interested in whether the ice rode into town on a trough of low pressure.

We just know we're cold. And that it's worse than last year.

Shocking the cat

AAA reported 1,800 calls for assistance from midnight to 2 p.m. Friday and an 18 percent overall increase in calls from distressed motorists over the same time last year.

"This cold just sucks the life out of your battery and tires," says AAA's Sandra Gile. And it sucks all the moisture out of the air.

The cat won't come near me anymore. He thinks I'm trying to electrocute him.

Besides static electricity, of course, there are frozen pipes, soaring heat bills and marriages dissolving because of irreconcilable differences over the thermostat.

This is the kind of cold that makes all the little hairs in your nose freeze, the kind of cold that makes you want to buy a Hideously Expensive and Overly Roasted Caffeine Grande and pour it into your shoes.

Cold weather causes normally good-natured people to grump.

"I realized this morning," concerned reader Irene Shooner reports, "that the paper cut I received early in the month is still there and bleeding. Nothing heals. Also, I can't put on a pair of panty hose without ruining them unless I slather both hands and legs with Eucerin."

Meanwhile, Buster the cat continues to slink around, glowering, and avoiding me. I like to think it's because he doesn't want to be shocked again. I'd hate to think he sees something dangerous in my eyes.

Because frankly, his fur coat is starting to look pretty good.

E-mail or phone 768-8393.

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