Winter Virgin

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2008

My current temporary housemate is a native of a warm state, descended from parents of even warmer nationality, and attended medical school in a tropical foreign country. In short, he’s had no experience whatsoever with “winter” (which he believes has already arrived in the Smallish State) and is completely fascinated by the whole idea.

Almost daily, he comes up with new questions for me about winter. During his first week, he was very interested in Turbopalace heating system, and I got to tell him all about steam radiators, boilers, etc. Later I overhead him on the phone with his wife, saying “… and they burn oil to heat the houses, so every house has some sort of big tank to hold the oil in the cellar… I don’t know how the oil gets into the tank…”

Later, he was curious about “how you get the snow out of the driveway”. He asked how many days it is, following a snow storm, that people generally don’t go to work. He was particularly interested in my collection of ice brushes/scrapers for the car; he found it hard to believe these would be necessary (“Can’t you just turn on the defroster?”), and also thought they’d work better if made of steel, rather than plastic (probably true.)

This morning he noticed a couple of ice-axe pick guards I’d left on a chair while tidying the gear-storage area, and asked what they were. I explained, but his puzzled look never really went away.

Last night it was about 40F out. Housemate came in from parking his car wearing a look of half-excitement, half-terror, and stated “It is fucking COLD out there!!”, in a volume and tone of voice that locals reserve for times when the temperature is in the vicinity –15F range. “You can SEE YOUR BREATH!”, he added, for emphasis.

I don’t think he knows yet about snow tires. I’m thinking that if I use Tom Sawyer techniques, I might be able to get him interested enough in that topic that he will do the labor of putting them my car, while I supervise.

6 COMMENTS:

Rach said…
Where DO you find these temporary housemates anyways?

10/23/08 10:08 PM
Megan said…
Dear god.

I don’t understand either.

10/24/08 12:25 AM
marcia said…
Uhm… yeah, about using steel to scrape your windows. The reason it’s not better than plastic is because it actually scratches the window glass. Permanently.

Too bad no one uses chains on their tires anymore; you could have a lot of fun teaching your new housemate how to put them on and take them off.

10/24/08 9:32 AM
Novalis said…
Have you told him that if he thinks this is bad, he should have experienced winter pre-greenhouse, 20+ years ago?

10/24/08 10:59 AM
The MSILF said…
Do not mock us. I did that three month stint in New York and it almost killed me. Seriously, the first day I was there, which was before the REAL cold hit, I walked into a clothing store to buy all that shit that I had never heard of (long underwear? layers? sweaters? scarves? who the hell actually owns a scarf?) and the shopwomen took one look at me and said, “Where did you COME from?” and then, “We’ll help you.”

Even when I ski, it’s usually at least 75 degrees out.

Of course now I have all that gear and nothing to do with it, as I plan on never setting foot in such a cold place ever again. Unless I do this
http://www.expeditionsail.com/

But I probably won’t, because it’s too fucking cold.

10/24/08 11:59 AM
Pop said…
I think he may really find shoveling your driveway very interesting when the time comes. Make sure he has good boots.

10/24/08 10:35 PM

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