Yesterday morning I caught myself muttering, “I can’t wait for winter to be over.” This statement took me by surprise. Winter used to be one of my favorite months. Oh wait, that doesn’t look right. Wintember used to be one of my favorite months. That’s better.
I must be growing up. One more tiny piece of my childhood died as I turned my back on winter. My inner child would have wept over this, but its tear ducts had frozen shut. Winter was far more exciting to us when we were children. We would peer through the windows late at night, watching the snow come down with wide-eyed wonder at the awesome power of nature to cancel school. Of course, they always reminded us we’d have to make up any snow days at the end of the year, but no one ever cared because the entire last week of school was a blow-off anyway.
As an adult, winter weather becomes less of a useful diversion and more of an irritating inconvenience. They don’t close down most businesses just because it would be unreasonably unsafe to expect their employees to drive to work. This means that adults still need to brave the elements to drive to work while their children get to stay home and entertain themselves with such fun games as “set G.I. Joe on fire.” (Of course, I’m only kidding. These days, kids just download grotesque porn from the Internet instead of actually doing anything constructive with their free time.)
Every morning during the winter, I have to wake up earlier than normal so I can warm up my car. Apparently automobile engineers are more interested in making cars that can be voice activated to play Barenaked Ladies while calling our lawyers than making cars that can function reasonably well in temperature ranges that commonly exist on planet Earth. This is the main reason I can’t wait for winter to be over. I have a great deal of trouble waking up at all, let alone early, because I find sleep to be a very enjoyable alternative to being awake. When you’re asleep, no one is around to pressure you into doing things you don’t want to do, like contribute to society in any meaningful way.
I also have to adjust my travel time to account for “safe winter driving.” Cold winter air creates ice, a vicious substance determined to destroy humanity by transforming our roads into violent, careening deathtraps. “Safe winter driving” is a critical process combining two major elements: 1) driving as slowly as possible, and 2) being perpetually terrified while you do so. Everybody practices “safe winter driving” from approximately October 1st through May 31st, regardless of whether or not there is actually any ice on the road. Regardless of whether or not conditions even exist for there to be any ice on the road. Unless they’re idiots. The idiots are the ones who believe that owning a four-wheel drive vehicle makes it perfectly safe to drive 50 MPH on a sheet of pure ice.
In addition to the ice, we sometimes also have to deal with the nuisance of snow. Nature never dumps snow any place that might be convenient for people, such as in scenic landscape photographs. It’s always on sidewalks and busy streets where it can cause accidents, and we’re constantly having to move it someplace else. Of course, this is nature’s signal that we are ready for even more snow, which clearly, by definition, belongs on the sidewalks and streets. When we were children, we would delight in building snowmen, creating snow angels, and sliding uncontrollably down snow-crested hills atop flimsy sheets of plastic. That was before we grew up and realized that whoever dreamed of a white Christmas should be drug out and shot.
If I remember my high school science classes correctly, we learned that it gets extremely cold in winter because the sun hates us. This causes car windshields to develop frost that is impossible to remove because windshield scrapers were designed by cackling sadists. The temperature is always a stimulating topic of conversation during the winter. People never get tired of asking if it’s “still cold out there,” as if it’s suddenly going to turn June. Sometimes, someone might ask you if you’re responsible for “all this bad weather,” which is a stupid question because everyone knows that, as with anything else that nobody likes, it’s all George W. Bush’s fault.