Sunday, December 14

-42 with windchill.

I cannot explain to you how frustrating, how overwhelming this can be for people who are new here. In the elevator this evening I spoke with a man who had an obvious accent. I said, isn't his horrible weather? He chuckled and agreed. He said you try all year to prepare for this but sometimes you never are prepared. I asked him how long had had been here; he said 30 years. I looked at him, puzzled, and said before that? He said oh somewhere much warmer. I read his embroidery on his touque; Chile, it said. I smiled and said I thought so; your toque told me. We had a little laugh and the elevator got to my floor.

I think I'd been home for about fifteen minutes. I was talking about my day and how all day the topic of conversation had been this terrible weather and this bone chilling cold. All day I saw emotional people and small crying children, coming in from the cold to go shopping. In truth I must have expressed several times to my coworkers how insane people must have to be to venture out in this literally to go purchase some bread and oranges. Personally I would go without as opposed to dealing with this. Oddly some consumers react the opposite, as though this will last forever and they must stock their shelves for the Coming Blizzard And Pending Doom... At least I assume this what they think. I sat down to relax and started watching some tv and unwind from my day. After a few minutes, over the noise of the program I was watching and through the huge double paned windows, I suddenly hear a woman's high pitched scream, then a man's low bellowing. You never, EVER hear noises from the street 5 stories below, but I thought where else could this be from? I peer down to the street below. It's so dark out, and the snow is still coming. The road is lit by orange street lights with cars parked tight together along the curb. At the street corner, below me to the right, I see a taxi stopped with its emergency lights on. The rear driver's door is open and a man is partially out, yelling loudly and passionately at a thin young woman wearing a small pullover and jeans. I can see she is at a slight distance away, over by the curb and the parked cars. I can't tell if she ran there from the taxi? She is very emotionally engaged in this argument. Her hands are on her head and her knees buckle as she screams a bone chilling scream and slumps to the ground. The taxi speeds away and she screams further as though she is being abandoned. It's -41 and she does not look like she will manage well in this weather in those clothes, I think to myself. I get my jacket and grab the elevator down. Maybe she needs a ride... She looks to be in her late teens, perhaps early early 20s. I get down to the front doors and see her hurredly walking along the opposite sidewalk in the opposite direction that the taxi left. I yell HEY! Do you need a ride? As loud as I can. She turns back, and all I can hear is the sound of her wailing and sobbing echoing from the surrounding buildings. She is definitely young. She keeps walking, quickly, turns her head to me a few times but rounds the corner out of site. I stood there for a moment; I wished I could help her. She needs some positive energy from somewhere and I hope it finds her tonight. Apparently I was here only to observe her problems for a moment and witness her grief.

It's -41. In mere minutes outside you freeze, and so does everything you wear, everything you hold, everything you see.

Things can be a lot worse.

This time of year is hard for people.

Go gently.

Be giving.


~n~ said...

Here I thought I was a wimp for complaining about -18 windchill. You win hands down with -42. That's insane. I hope you have a jacket now and not just a purple velvet cape. ;) And some proper winter booties? Maybe some Sorrels? Speaking of, I realized today I have nothing suitable for any of us in terms of winter wear. Why would you when it never gets this cold here? Apparently we will need some, and NOW (speaking of being unprepared). I guess on the plus of things, with the hall party postponed until next weekend we have lots of soup & buns & veggies & dip all ready to eat so I'm feeling prepared... especially since the power went out for 6 hrs and left us chilled to the bones inside. But still, we got nothin on your -42. I don't care how lovely the people in Winnipeg are, or how beautiful it is in the summer (well, before the mosquitoes come attacking), the West Coast is where it's at, honey... even at -18. LOL

And seriously, the whole taxi/girl scene was creepy. I wonder why the Universe wanted you to see all that? hmmmm... why were you there to witness her grief and despair?

Stay warm, my friend.

Deanna said...

Hey Charlene, we lived in Regina for 2 years from summer 03 to summer 05 and I feel your pain! It's an incredible feeling to know that you would not live long outside your house and you run from car to store to car to home because it actually hurts to breathe!

Prairie Girl said...

note from a random stranger:
hey, that was really REALLY compassionate and beautiful of you to run down there and offer her a ride. i would have done the same thing and often as i'm putting myself out there i wonder... am i the only one dumb enough to care?

i'm glad i'm not :)