The Great White Despair.


Isn’t winter beautiful? The ermine coat that wraps the hearth, the flakes crashing everywhere from the sky like crystallized kamikazes, all those snow covered firs that put you in the mood to deck the halls? Yes, winter is magical… but God damn, it’s cold!

Not one that looks like the others, though. Some years the North comes down to whack you with his pole.  Some others, El Niño tinkles all over you with his frozen piss. Yeah. Here, in Québec, Jack Frost doesn’t nip at your nose: he glues the nostrils together and bites the tip right off. And, here, we call him «Jacques Le Gel».

No, we don’t.

The merrier the decor, the lower the temperature. The lower the temperature, the lower my frame of mind. On a scale from one to ten, I’m at minus 15.  If I can ear Styrofoam under my soles when I walk outside, I know it’s cold as Finnegan’s feet when he died sucking on a witch’s tit. And there’s no cure for my bipolar vortex.

I hate when the Chinook winds melt the glaciers and my makeup. I hate when my dry skin is so flaky, it’s a snowy day in my pants. I hate when my woolen socks are wet with moisture in my boots and my toes get numb. I hate the feeling of flesh-creep when my extremities send me distress signals, electrocuting my nerve endings, until I reach full curling of my already hunched body.

I hate when the flu turns me into a feverish wreck that spills my Neo Citran drink on my deadened fingers. I hate when my shoulders are up to my ears and my buttocks are so tight it makes me walk funny on the sidewalks seasoned with salt and gravel. I hate twisting my ankles in fossilized traces of the last ice storm.

I hate blowing snow, sleet or hail thrown in my squinting eyes. I hate those huge ponds of brown slush on the street corners. I hate the see-saw of freeze and thaw. I hate winter. I loathe it. I wish it would leave me frigid, but it burns me up.

What is the ice cube root of 6 month of this big chill? How do I find a way to stay happy when fighting with the Great White Despair?

One way is to dress «Inuit style” and go have fun with the cloud dung. I forget the cold when I’m in the country or a park and I play like a six year old. It’s the best sensation, after a day of slip and slide on the slopes, to sip a hot chocolate, near a heat source of some sort, while sniffling snots of faits accomplis. And by “sip hot chocolate” I mean “swig straight scotch.”

I also find consolation watching car owners. I never have to cut my Mazda from the center of an iceberg, at seven in the morning. Never have to whirl furiously my tires as I grind my chattering teeth. Never have to fidget with block solid locked doors, look for booster cables or have my mirror ripped by the snow plow. Never have to sit in a fridge on wheels with a faulty heater while trying to find a parking. I’m a lucky shivering Popsicle pedestrian.

I am comforted as well by the petrified faces of the newly arrived hipster immigrants from France. They now realize that they left a bad social climate for just a bad climate. “Ha, putaiiiiin ce qu’on se les caiiiilles!!” they whine.  I laugh at their stunned glazed expressions. Not taking as much pictures of the wholesome Canadian landscape , are you, Didier? Have faith! Only three more weeks of winter technically! And by «technically», I mean «Who knows? »… Welcome to Montreal! Bwahahahaaaaa!! ”

Ok… What did I want to say by grumbling like a grumpy groundhog? Oh yeah: I lost my fur hat. I wanted to buy another. The stores don’t have any. It seems that we are now in the spring-summer season. I guess they didn’t look out the window.

Anyway, this time, I won’t let Old Man Winter do a snow job on my moral. I’ll tie my scarf over my head and I’ll face him with a smile on my chapped lips.

And by “smile”, I mean “Sunny Coconut Club, here I come!”



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