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Coping with cold, harsh reality, stress on cold


It feels like that moment when the first seam rips and Bruce Banner starts to look … different. It feels like those horrible times when your mother skipped her disciplinary action altogether and simply told you to “Wait until your father gets home.” It feels like lightning just struck and a wicked old man just cackled.

November in the Boston area is full of impending doom. For someone who just moved here from Vegas, it’s clear that something bad — something very, very bad — is about to happen. It’s called winter.

The temperature here dipped to the 20s Sunday. With winds reaching as high as 47 mph, and a heater that’s on the fritz, it felt like living circumstances only Eskimos would be cool with, emphasis on cool. When the first gust of Boston wind hits your face and literally brings tears to your eyes, you get a little concerned. The same goes for numb thighs during the walk from your building to your car.

But, I’m assured and reassured by friendly locals, that I ain’t seen nothin’ yet. This is what’s known as fall, they tell me. If I mention I recently moved here from Vegas, oh, they really get a kick out of that. They give that slow head shake and grin that you see in movies when the naive heroine moves to the big city, or tries out for some elite group, or carries a watermelon to a private party, or does anything for which she seemingly isn’t ready.

Some of these Bostonians actually look sympathetic when they warn of colder, snowier weather. They realize they’re delivering this news to a woman still sporting tan lines. Others are almost delighted over having the honor of informing the woman still sporting tan lines that this thing known as fall will be something she longs for in January. It’s as if they’re personally crapping snow all over my Vegas palm trees, and laughing with glee about it.

Why, you ask, are so many people providing their input? Well, every day that brings brutally cold temperatures, I inquire with the kindest of strangers: Is this as bad as it gets? Will it get worse, how much worse? I know you’re just trying to walk your dog, but just a few more questions. I’ll try not to cry this time.

I’m the kind of person who believes surprises should always be gift-wrapped. I don’t want to be “surprised” with a snow party. If it concerns something that doesn’t warrant balloons, well, I want to know it’s coming.

That’s why I ask the questions and check the forecast. It’s also why I paid a recent visit to weather.com, which was as good an idea as a hypochondriac logging onto webmd.com. Here, such horrifying facts as Boston’s lowest-ever temperature can be found: -30 in 1946, for anyone wanting to feel very warm right now. There’s also information about what the temperature registers as and what it actually feels like. See, Sunday’s low was 22 degrees, but with the wind chill it felt like 7 degrees.

Similar to the hypochondriac who walks away from webmd feeling totally justified for freaking out over a headache but fully convinced she has weeks to live, I did the same thing reading that last little nugget. So it really was cold enough to freak out on Sunday. And I really may just freeze to death come winter. If I sound bitter it’s because bitter and cold never go anywhere without each other. And, my “heater” is set at 350 degrees — also known as the average Vegas temperature in July. At least that’s the way a New Englander would interpret it. That’s how I’ve tried to see things. November in Boston is like May in Vegas. When you get that first triple-digit forecast, you brace yourself for what’s to come. You prepare for burning-hot steering wheels and outrageous electric bills. You promise yourself you won’t be one of those people who takes a screen shot of the temperature on their iPhone and posts it to Facebook with a bunch of exclamation points. You get used to doing everything indoors. Crazy-hot temperatures are just part of living in Las Vegas. You understand and accept that. Crazy-cold temperatures are just part of living in Boston. I understand that and am working on accepting it.

Contact Xazmin Garza at startswithanx@yahoo.com. Follow her on Twitter @startswithanx.