On snow – getting lost in it and getting over it

One of my primary justifications for moving away from Portland to the Midwest was the weather. I wanted four seasons, not the paltry one and a half (consistent rain and slightly less consistent rain with sporadic sunshine) offered in the Northwest. When I explained this to people, there was some scoffing. They, quite patronizingly I thought, warned me that it is cold, like really cold, in Chicago, and it snows, like really a lot. Well, I grew up in Montana, where the first frost comes in August, Halloween costumes have to accommodate parkas and snow boots (if you could come up with an idea that legitimately incorporated a turtleneck you were absolutely going to win best costume in the school Halloween parade), and you can ski in April. How much colder could Chicago be?

Like way colder. There are differences between the winters in Chicago and Montana. Chicago is humid and windy, so the cold works it way through your clothes, skin, and muscles right into your bones, while Montana is very dry so the cold just stings without eating away at your flesh. Also, I lived in a much smaller, cleaner town, so the snow didn’t take on the greyish-brown cast the snow in Chicago does. The most important difference though, is one that had never occurred to me until just a few days ago. When I lived in Montana, I was a kid. I didn’t have to get food or go to work in the snow. Instead, I got to play in the snow. In Portland, anything more than an inch of snow shuts the city down, but in Chicago, nothing shuts down for a mere six inches of snow. You still have to go to work. You still have get your own food and anything else you need – it’s just more dangerous.

Long story short, I’ve amended my view on snow. It’s lovely, but I don’t need to have it around regularly the way I thought I did. Before I moved to Chicago, I thought a real winter was a reason to move somewhere, but now I know that, if anything, it’s a reason to move away from somewhere.

P.S. The best part about my half-baked love of winter, is that Chicago and Portland both had their first snow in the same week. Now Portland’s first snow will probably also be it’s last, while Chicago still has a good three months of winter left in it. But still, it’s a little ironic.

1/16/2012 = Fun times in Portland

1/12/2012 = Dirty snow in Chicago

P.P.S. Alison, De wanted me to let you know that we were wrong – Chicago’s weather is worse than Portland’s. I’m pretty sure you were just being nice and supporting my wing nut weather dreams, and I appreciate it, but we can give up the fight now. Portland wins the weather contest by being marginally less bad, but significantly more livable than Chicago.

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5 thoughts on “On snow – getting lost in it and getting over it

  1. De says:

    Well, you know I love being right, but I am still trying to come to terms with this thing called weather in Chicago. There is still some sort of excitement when it snows, right? At least for like 2 hours??
    I am going to think of some good things about snow/weather in Chicago. I’ll get back to you…

  2. It was exciting for the first two hours, and it’s melting now, so how bad could it have been, really? Also, fall was beautiful, and it lasted until November, right?

  3. milton says:

    There is no excitement. People start being upset about the snow while it’s still 60 degrees out.
    The snow is beautiful, and it forces us Miltons to exercise.

  4. Alison says:

    Aww yeah I will concede to that one.. it’s been snowing today in Portland and I’ve been feeling very entitled to a snow day off even though it’s not even sticking. Can’t imagine having to deal with it all the time with no special privileges like a day off work.

    Isn’t it around that day when most people break their resolutions? How are yours going?

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