Disclaimer: To all my Canadian friends and family this post is written in total fun and you all know how much I love you but….
I am calling bullshit when it comes to your recent response to my postings about the cold snap in NYC! I have been mentioning on Facebook and twitter that the weather is cold and have received responses such as “NYC has made you soft”, “You are wimping out”, “If you are complaining about NYC weather you will soon lose your Canadian card” etc. And I thought to myself, fair, maybe after three winters in Manhattan I was becoming a bit of softie when it came to weather. Until I was WALKING home the other day from the grocery store, my fingers nearly falling off from the cold and a gust of wind blew past the buildings and created a wind tunnel that nearly knocked me over. At that very moment I fondly remembered back to my suburban Ottawa days where I would grocery shop and then pack my bags into the car and drive home.
It was also at this point that I started thinking about my Canadian winter days. I am not going to discount the weather in the great white north. It is serious business and does NOT mess around. However, I started comparing freezing cold days in NYC vs. freezing cold days in Ottawa. Here is a few comparisons that I came up with. Please, indulge me.
1. Walking VS. Driving- In NYC (unless you are part of the 1% that can afford a driver) you have to walk every where. Yep, you just do. Most of us don’t have cars and even if we do, taking it out for a less than 5 mile drive is just insanity. So, we walk- in the blowing wind, in negative degree temps, in freezing rain- you get the point. When the weather is take your breath away cold in Canada you start your car with the remote car starter, run out and jump into a nice warm car (probably with heated seats) and then head off with a quick stop at the drive- thru Tim Hortons. We even have to walk to Starbucks here 😉
2. Snow- Well Canada, you do have the slight advantage here (or should I say disadvantage?) because you actually have to shovel the snow and drive in it BUT when it snows in NYC we all run for cover to the subway (don’t even think about trying to find a cab) and then we are shoved together with a bunch of snow covered (melting) humanity that smells like wet dog. Also the snow in NYC covers up the street dangers such as frozen dog pee and other unmentionables.
3. Winter Apparel- Canadians are just ready for winter- boots, snowsuits, hats, gloves. NY’ers not so much. This creates many issues in NYC because people are still trying to be fashionable and warm resulting in lots of large hoods and big furry hats. A definite danger because it cuts off all peripheral vision resulting in many close calls with other pedestrians as well as cars while crossing the street against traffic.
4. Taking Out The Dog- Now while NYC dogs are very fashionable in their winter attire- booties and stylish coats, we do not have the option of just shooing said dog out the back door for a quick pee as many Canadians with backyards do. Also, it is during the coldest of nights that the dog will decide that he needs to find the perfect patch of pavement to do his or her thing.
5. Kid Pick Up- I know that there is the pick up line of mini-vans in Canada, this is not a myth. Moms and dads sit in their nice warm cars, reading emails, texting, napping, until their offspring are released and run to the car. Not so much in NYC. We have to wait outside. It doesn’t matter how cold it is out, parents stand together for warmth and wait for the teachers to bring out the kids. And when you think you are right on time the teacher will still be out 10 minutes later.
6. Sending The Kids Outside To Play- See #3, most NYC kids don’t have the proper winter gear so the minute it drops below freezing out door recess is cancelled (don’t get me started on that rant!!), so when the kids go home to their parents, they have been stuck inside all day. Not good. In Canada (a hearty bunch) kids often go outside in backyards and on streets to play even in the crazy cold weather. Consider yourself very lucky to have that option to burn off the energy.
7. Central Heating- Canada, and many of my Ottawa friends, I know you have this wonderful thing called Central Heating as well as big beautiful fireplaces. Most of us in NYC do not. We live in buildings that are at least 100 years old and have very cranky radiators that send the heat up sporadically. Sometimes it is like a sauna, sometimes it is freezing. Right now I am sitting at the computer with a big sweater and a cup of tea. Oh how I miss a thermostat!
So, I guess what I am trying to say is this- Canada we DO have the right to moan and bitch about the weather and NO we are not wimps (well, maybe just a wee bit) but we do have a issues of our own as we struggle through a cold snap. And one thing New Yorkers and my fellow Canadians definitely do share and agree on is that the best way to stay warm is to find a warm and happy place and raise a glass.
I hope I haven’t offended anyone with my little January rant, but hey, I had to do something today as the freezing rain pelts my window!
And to all my Canadian friends I will admit that you win the winter cold war when you are expecting your final snow storm in March or April while I am sitting on a patio 😉