An Area Weather Curmudgeon Rants

My husband is famous (or infamous) for his rants. There are several occasions, when in rare form, when people would actually follow him around at a concert or a party just to see what would come out of his mouth next. When that man is on, he is ON. Well, winter is upon us, which means Scott's annual weather rant will echo throughout the McCarron household. I had actually started writing about one particular beef of his, but felt I should gather some input from the ranter himself.

This is what I got. With no further ado, a Scott McCarron rant...

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  There wasn't a lot of dancing around it this year.  Our first snowfall produced 5" of ground cover that has stuck around. 

Unfortunately with winter comes Chicago's municipal pastime -- complaining about the weather.  It's like we all just moved here.  Guess what.  It gets cold here. 

Climate is one of the trade offs of this area.  Deal with it.  Here's a short list of coping mechanisms.  Layers.  Silk.  Wool.  Goose down.  Performance fleece!  There are many fine choices.  If you think about it, it doesn't really matter that much if it's cold.  It matters if you're cold. 

Here's another tip.  That little bin under your car's dashboard on the passenger side can actually be used to store gloves. 

Complain to me about the weather and I'm likely to drift off and contemplate whether you're also the type of person who stares blankly as your entire cart full of groceries is scanned, and only after being provided with the grand total do you start fumbling around for a form of payment.  Oh yeah.  Must... settle... tab.  Didn't see that one coming! 

Winter... is... cold. 

This gets at why I cringe every time I hear the wind chill factor cited.  Does it serve any purpose but exaggerate our cold-induced misery and fuel more grumbling?  It's -39 degrees out! 

No.  It's not.  For starters, can we really pinpoint how cold it feels due to the wind?  The very notion strikes me as so variable and dependent on numerous factors so as to be immeasurable.  What are you wearing?  Is it a good wind breaker or too porous?  I felt a gust!  What's my wind chill factor now?  Wait, I just ducked behind a building.  The wind chill's not so bad anymore! 

On a cold day, do any of us really spend any appreciable time being directly wind blown?  Did the wind wreak havoc with your core temperature during that 45 second walk across the parking lot from your heated car to the climate controlled building?  If you're a crossing guard you can tell me about the wind chill.  Everyone else please zip it. 

In short, the wind chill is fundamentally dishonest.  It's like vanity sizing.  Hey, these 34 waist pants are loose on me!  I must be down to a 33!  Check that assumption with any self respecting tailor before tipping the champagne. 

But back to winter creep.  According to a local newscast, we got 5.1 inches of snow.  So we got more than five inches! 

Call me nostalgic for the tastefully round snowfall designations.  Break out the half inch if you must, but .1?  Really?  For starters, as long as we stubbornly cling to our cherished olde English system of measurement, inch fractions are binary.  Halves, quarters, eighths, sixteenths.  There are no tenths of an inch!  If you're seeing tenths you're using the metric side of the ruler. 

Can we even measure snowfall that accurately?  Stick a ruler in the snow and I'll bet you get different results depending on the spot you pick.  How many measurements must be taken to attain decimal precision?  And what is the possible benefit of capturing this distinction?  I can see it now...

"Hey, I heard it snowed five inches last night." 

"According to the news it was 5.1." 

"Sacre bleu!  This revelation will dramatically change my snow removal tactics!" 

Seriously, porn stars aren't described in decimal inch portions.  Can't our meteorologists speak in integers? 

So suck it up, Chicago!  Winter is famously one of our two seasons, and it can be long.  Brace yourself. 

And during our other season, if you are unexpectedly, adversely stuck in construction traffic, a little grumbling is allowed. 

...but please don't talk to me about the heat index.
**Don't miss Randy Southern's illustrious return to Ay, Mama! for the next two Sundays. You may recall, his last blog entry "My Hometown" which had every reader in tears (in a great way).


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  • I agree! Suck it up Chicago! PS-I love the glove compartment suggestion...

  • Well said, my friend. That was a fantastic rant! I may be one of the people that follows Scott around just to hear nuggets like that.

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