This is the post where I get to whine some more about the weather and you get to roll your eyes.
It’s 15 degrees outside. At 6:30 am, when I –bleary from sleep and the sudden jolt to consciousness when the guy who delivers misplaced bags from the airport woke me up with a call telling me he was waiting right outside with Rev. Mom’s bag– bounded barefooteldy downstairs in a t-shirt and yoga pants while holding on to a half-awake baby who wanted to be carried NOW and then opened the door, I was greeted with a lusty TEN DEGREE GUST. Not only did that horrible experience make me craft the above aberration of a sentence; it also made me scream and chide the driver –who ran out of the van without gloves– to bundle up well and go. put. gloves. ON!
It’s cold, people, and this California-at-heart girl can’t take it.
I realize that I don’t come from the California of perpetually sunny beaches and siliconed starlets, but still: in my old neck of the woods (coastal north-central California) people freak when the temperature stays in the high 30s for more than 10 minutes. I am serious: Californians think they are all weather-savvy (because they think they are everything-savvy, and because California is awesome and shut up it SO is), but it is this kind of weather that prompted such an ode to whiny plaintiveness and didn’t-know-how-good-I-had-it sob-stravaganza as "California Dreamin‘"
The upside? The whole city is freaking out. This makes me feel less alone, and certainly less abnormal and wimpy. You KNOW it’s definitely freak-out worthy if the Washington Post decides to cover the cold on its front page— as opposed to, you know, news.
The strangest item in the whole whiny OMG-it’s-COLD piece is the bit about the first casualty of the cold, an octogenarian whose body was found yesterday in Silver Spring. Granted: it is very sad when anyone dies, and from what we learn in the article, the poor dear froze to death and therefore technically qualifies as a victim of the cold.
She had "occasional dementia," which although it is an actual diagnosis sounds incredibly convenient when you’ve forgotten to bring a covered dish to a potluck party… come to think of it, it sounds like an excellent excuse for why you’d even go to a potluck party in the first place. And so, she wandered off in the middle of the night without a coat, somehow ended up in a ravine and froze to death, the poor dear.
While I understand that because she actually froze to death her death can technically be ascribed to the low temperatures, I find this an irritating example of how the press just loooooves to hype up any news story to scare people ("GO TO THE SHELTER! KEEP YOUR HEAT ON! WINTER IS UPON US! WE’RE ALL GONNA DIIIIIIIIE!")– because it got boring to try to scare people into believing the Apocalypse was here (or making fun of the Apocalyptic feeling, as it were) with threats of Global Warming and the horror that was January 6th, 2007, since we actually did get a winter this year. Late, but it’s here.
But back to our old lady: if she’d wandered off on the hottest night of the year and had turned up dead on account of dehydration, would her death have been caused by "the worst heat wave of the century"? Or if she’d wandered off and gotten hit by a car, would her death count as either "a cautionary tale for DC pedestrians everywhere" or perhaps, "yet another senseless crime in the midst of another crime wave in our increasingly more dangerous community"?
She was old. She forgot to put on a coat. She died.
Every death is sad, but hers was not caused by the weather– even if that is what her death certificate will state. She died because she was old and senile, and that is something that can sadly happen any night of the year.
(But it had better warm up because my sentences seem to be frozen solid, in horrible run-on-ish lumps. Help.)