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Last night, I had four blankets on my bed and suffered painful shivers. Although I was wearing thin summer pjs, no window was open and the heat from my slumber should have warmed me as usual. So wrong! This is a bad sign, the sign of October in Ohio.

This is a testy month, weather wise, and not even the Fall spices of dying leaves and desserts made from pumpkins and cinnamon can hide the dread of the five-month block to come. From November 1 till March 31, you are a slave of Mme Winter.

It lasts past March.
On second thought, make that a six-month winter. (April is also testy.) This is incredibly disappointing, and it’s no wonder S.A.D. exists; in a twelve-month year, you’d expect each of the four seasons to share the year equally. Not Winter! This cold-hearted bitch really milks it. Long after she is over, when seagulls have returned to our parking lots, piles of her gray excrement remain to remind us of the temperature we faced and will face again.

Snow is pretty until it kills you.
The first few times it snows, all the world around you turns into a magical wonderland. When it snows on Christmas Eve or Christmas day, life becomes a holiday romance comedy and you don’t mind the rush and bustle of travel. This is the extent of all good feelings about snow that doesn’t get you out of school.

Snow is a cousin to frozen water. It piles onto itself to form ice, which means black ice, sliding your way out the door, and wondering as you search longingly out your window whether your mailman hasn’t slipped and injured himself before making a delivery to your house. However, the worst part about winter is not the snow but the coldness that brings it.

Going trick-or-treating is asking for pneumonia.
Unless you’re going as the Michelin Man, you will be freezing in your costume. A brilliant costume idea is ruined by long johns, and unless there were blizzards in Agrabah, that’s not Princess Jasmine at your door asking for candy; that’s a little girl who is embarrassed at her mother’s insistence to bundle her up. Why aren’t all Halloween costumes lined with fleeece? Oh,  that’s right. They’re too bulky.

I can’t move my arms!
Two pairs of socks don’t cut it. Double layers everywhere often don’t block out the chills. I actually like the fashion aspect of layers, but they’re troublesome when they do their job too well (or not). As I hole up in my room to write, on go the layers because I’m freezing when I sit in my chair. The more I write, the more I work, so off go the layers again. Seconds after I’ve shed one or two items, the chills return. As I work more with the layers back on, my fingers freeze despite the exercise they get with typing.

This battle also happens in the summer, but at least my body knows how to sweat to tell me it’s hot. I don’t sweat in the winter! So how do I know I’m hot? I don’t know because I only am in fleeting moments.

I used to enjoy shopping, dangit!
More layers means more clothes, but what used to be fun is now guess-work at how much you’ll need. If you wish to don a summery dress, it must be accompanied by leggings and a sweater to become passable. As you go through the list of things you need to survive this season, clothing becomes an unavoidable expense.

Women’s fashion wants you to freeze.
A tank top is not a sweater. I don’t care if it’s knit with wool from a sheep on hair steroids, dear shopping facilities, because that flimsy (and possibly sheer) frock should not be included in a menu of winter clothing. And short-sleeved sweaters? Don’t get me started. Your coveted designers better sew me up some armwarmers if I’m to believe someone won’t catch their death in these shirts. Never mind, I’ll do it. I don’t trust you to dictate what I wear during these months.

I’m not a puffed-up blowfish; I’m just wearing a coat.
If bundling up is a necessity, so be it. Fashion be damned (or at least on vacation in Florida)! If the trusty coat I’ve had for ten years keeps my chattering teeth from eroding ten-fold every time I must go outside, I have a good excuse not to care. We all do.

Am I hot or cold?
No matter how good of a coat you’re wearing, between the frost outside and the constant rubbing of fabric on your skin, adding blasts of warm, dry air from a heating vent once you reach the indoors becomes too much. Lotion is often more valuable to me than bathing. (If I’m not sweating, why should I bathe?) Skin has feelings, too, you know.

There are some OK things about winter. It’s a great excuse to set up camp under a blanket for hours at a time. Wearing multiple pairs of colorful tights isn’t exactly a fashion statement but a necessity that doesn’t get you as many odd looks as they would on a summer outfit. Scarves, also, are the best things ever.

In grade school, we read a lot about the settlers who came to Ohio from the East. Sometimes it seemed that as Thanksgiving and the Cold-Hearted Bitch got closer, the more we read about pilgrims. We were taught that the pilgrims and pioneers chose where they wanted to live (they did make a big deal of travelling here, after all), and so I’ve always wanted to know one thing: if Winter is so annoying, why didn’t they choose somewhere else? Some place more convenient?

I haven’t experienced a real winter in four years, and because I have posted this editorial, Mme Winter will seek vengeance on all of us this year. I wish to leave this tyranny but, as long as I live here, I must cope with this impending doom. We all must. Carry on, brave Winter-dwellers! May she take pity on you.



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