It finally happened. For the first time in 2021, on Tuesday night, I watched the number on my digital thermometer creep below freezing temperatures as I lay in bed, unable to sleep.
My feelings about the cold are mixed. I’m one of those rare Winnipeggers who’s more of a winter person than a summer person. This summer, while taking an online data-journalism course, I shared this personal detail with an award-winning journalist based in Ottawa. “You’re a sick man,” he responded. He was joking, but I understand the reaction.
I love autumn best, but the window of opportunity to enjoy this season feels shorter than usual this year. The sliver of time between Thanksgiving and Halloween is prime time for walks in the park or on not-yet-slushy sidewalks while wrapped in a wooly sweater. With this winter projected to be colder than usual, it’s extra important to relish this moment before we plunge into the bitter cold we’re famous for.
I’ve always been conflicted about our city’s weather-based infamy. On the one hand, I love romanticizing Winnipeg winters to people from abroad. I laugh at Kevin Hart or Jim Gaffigan poking fun at us just as much as the next person.
But I also bristle at friends who have moved to warmer provinces and gloat about it on social media. “Boy, I’m sure glad I’m not in Winnipeg today!” the Manitobans-turned-Vancouverites will post any time we get hit with a blizzard, as if it’s a point of pride. It’s not. You left Winnipeg because of the weather? All that means is that you lost, and Winnipeg won!
In the meantime, enjoy those changing leaves and dry socks while you can.
Published in Volume 76, Number 6 of The Uniter (October 21, 2021)