Run for Your Lives!

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There is cold Arctic air over Vancouver and the weather warnings are up. It’s zero degrees. If you are reading this from anywhere else in Canada you are undoubtedly laughing your ass off. This is the time of year when Vancouverites look like national marshmallows. People move here to escape the frigid climate elsewhere in the country and within a year or two they become absolutely climatologically intolerant.

A narrow comfort zone

The comfort range for the average Vancouver resident spans about fifteen degrees. Zero (or, God forbid, anything lower) is too cold. Twenty five degrees celsius is pretty much the ceiling. Ideally, we like to live in the 10 to 25 degree bubble.

We are not alone. I was once in the city of New Orleans during an unseasonably frigid spell. Fountains froze, pipes burst and palm trees were being wrapped in blankets. People who lacked cold weather clothing walked around with pillows pushed into their faces for protection.

On the other hand, I remember landing on a flight into Calgary and doing a double take when the pilot announced that the current temperature was minus 26 degrees Celsius. I thought he was joking. Minus 26 degrees is beyond crisp. No one survives minus 26 degrees without a heated car seat.

Vancouverites generally like their cold weather restricted to the mountains. We prefer to look up and see the snow in the distance. It’s a postcard view of creation that seems nice and safe. If we feel the need to play in the snow we’ll go to it. If the snow unexpectedly comes to us (six flakes on a highway will do it) the world, as we know it, dissolves in chaos.

This vulnerability is not an admirable trait. I have not spent much time in Canada’s north but I have been in Newfoundland where, I believe, the hardiest souls in the country exist. Newfoundlanders are made of sterner stuff. Extraordinarily close family ties are made even stronger by an unforgiving climate. Newfoundlanders put their heads down, laugh it off and soldier on. People who live on the south coast of British Columbia surrender as soon as the bird bath freezes and their azaleas droop.

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One Response to “Run for Your Lives!”

  1. Ah, Vancouver’s temperate climate. Thinking about it alot today as we experience our first snow of the season in ‘ol T.O., ON.

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